'Life has only just begun' for Teesside veteran preparing to climb North Africa's highest mountain
James Rose is no stranger to a challenge, but this is one of his toughest to date.
The war veteran from Marton, in Middlesbrough, has set his sights on climbing the highest mountain in North Africa. The charity climb was due to take place in 2020, but the pandemic caused delays to the venture.
In 2009, when James was just 22-years-old, his life changed forever.
While on patrol during his first tour of Afghanistan, James stood on an IED. He lost both of his legs in the blast, as well as suffering a broken pelvis and tailbone. He spent four years recovering from catastrophic injuries.
More than a decade on, James is taking on a 4,167m climb to the summit of Mount Toubkal in Morocco, to raise money for the military charities.
The challenge, even for able-bodied people, is extreme, but James says he is raring to go.
He will be accompanied by fellow veterans John Gilpin, Ray Priest and Gerry Garvey who are collectively hoping to raise £15,000 for two veterans’ charities, Launchpad and BLESMA who support limbless veterans.
It is not the first time James has gone on to achieve the seemingly impossible. The 34 year-old became the first double amputee - above the knee - to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and secured medals at the Invictus games.
Commenting on the challenge ahead, James said: “We’ve been training for this for over two years and yes, it’s a personal challenge but it’s also about raising awareness of mental health and funds for two fantastic veterans’ charities.
“These challenges are extremely physical and painful but if you have a positive mindset and stay strong, you will get through it. You need to keep strong in your head – it’s about mind over matter.
“I may have lost my legs but not my life, for me life has only just begun and reaching the summit of Mount Toubkal next week will be the icing on the cake.”
David Shaw, CEO and Founder of Launchpad, said: “Despite the setback of the pandemic, James has shown real strength and courage to carry on and complete this enormous challenge. He is an inspiration to us all and I would like to wish him and the other veterans joining him, a safe journey and we look forward to hearing how he gets on."
The climb will take the group around three or four days, weather and conditions permitting.