This blog is dedicated to bringing you inspiring and entertaining stories that, we hope, serve to brighten up your day. We love to chat about style, getting outdoors and tips and advice on travel, hiking and camping trips. It's not every day that we get to feature a truly inspiring journey including one of the highest mountains in Switzerland and one man's hike to the top, to raise money for charity.
Belfast based Hugh Mcgoldrick will be undergoing a gruelling fitness regime to make sure he is ready to take on the Matterhorn mountain. Known for it's difficult terrain of rock and ice, it will be tough but hugely rewarding. Hugh is an accomplished mountaineer and we are delighted to be able to provide him with high performing footwear and fleeces, so he can brave the elements throughout his journey to the summit.
We managed to grab a few minutes of his time to check out how he's coping with the 5am starts and strict fitness routine!
What made you want to embark on this expedition?
For some years now I have been climbing in and around the Mournes, there are some fantastic routes available and being close to where I live there isn’t really much choice. I also climbed extensively in the Highlands of Scotland while I was at University. I made the transition into Mountaineering in my third year of University when I decided to climb Mont Blanc, via the Aguille di midi route. Since this expedition I have caught the mountaineering bug and been in the Alps any chance I can get. However due to my day to day working life this has become increasingly difficult. I had always planned to do a big climb this summer and when I came into contact with Pretty ‘n’ Pink it spurred me on to organise an expedition to hopefully climb in aid of a local Northern Irish Charity. I really enjoy having the opportunity of raising funds for a very worthwhile cause through doing something I really love.
What’s involved in your training routine?
My training regime is intense and focused towards increasing my aerobic fitness levels, while also conditioning particular areas of my physique. I try and run 10km 3 days a week with a big run at the weekend, this is if I can’t get out in the Mournes for proper climbing which always takes precedence. I do weights sessions 2 days a week, these weights sessions are focused mainly towards strengthening my core, as well as improving leg and back strength which is vital for such an expedition, where long hours of climbing can really take their toll.
Obviously life takes over and sometimes it will be longer sessions some days and shorter others. I’m usually pretty shattered by the weekend but do try and make use of my rest days. I am generally a pretty motivated person but after the “honeymoon” training period ends it can be a real tough slog getting yourself up in the morning.
I am an active person so feel I have a good residual fitness level, I have just stopped playing rugby after 10 years due to recurring injuries so I know how to push myself pretty hard in personal training.
Are you on a specific diet?
To be honest I have never been one of those people who calorie counts, I have been blessed with a lightning fast metabolism, so I eat when I am hungry and I eat a lot. I have never really enjoyed eating fast food or junk food so I don’t really have too much to cut down on or change for a climb.
The main drawback of preparing for the climb is having to cut back on the odd casual drink after work or at the weekend. One evening with a couple of pints sets me back a week so I just have to flat out avoid it.
What will you be bringing with you?
One of the essential elements of a successful climb is packing light, you are carrying everything on your back so lighter the better.
Target Dry have provided me with technical waterproof fleeces for the climb, these are lightweight and breathable allowing for maximum benefit with minimum weight impact.
I have also been supplied with Target Dry’s state of the art socks, which are designed specifically for such expeditions, speaking from experience of having had massive blisters on my feet after one day of climbing on previous climbs, keeping your feet in optimum condition is vital and Target Dry’s socks definitely are on the fore front.
For the summit attempt itself I will have to be pretty wrapped up with temperatures dropping to as low as -40c, this will require a pretty hefty down jacket which continues to allow good movement while maintaining core body temperature.
What do you imagine will be the most challenging part of the expedition?
I plan a week long acclimatisation period in the Alps prior to my summit attempt, naturally with my body adjusting to altitude while climbing 12 hours a day for the first couple of days will be pretty grim.
The summit attempt morning will be an early start but I am not someone who minds rising early and the adrenaline will be pumping which will get me warm pretty quick.
How can the public support you and donate?
I have had a website built for the climb which is connected to my Just Giving page, all funds donated will go directly to Pretty ‘n’ Pink, a Northern Irish Breast Cancer Charity. This charity provides care and support for breast cancer suffers across Northern Ireland.
The website is www.hughmcgoldrick.com
How will you celebrate when you reach the top?
To be honest I haven’t thought that far ahead, there are a lot of extraneous variables that have to go my way to allow a summit attempt, usually I decide when I reach the top. The most dangerous part of the climb is the descent so I will be celebrating with a pint or two at the bottom.
Thanks Hugh for taking the time to be interviewed! This journey will be a dangerous and extremely challenging one which is why he needs your support. Please donate by visiting his justgiving page.