FOR more than a year, Dubbo’s Josh Edwards has prepared himself to conquer mountains, all in the name of charity.
He has a gruelling daily training regime will soon do two eighthour-hikes in the Blue Mountains in one day.
But these barely compare to the challenge that awaits him next month when the Dubbo born and bred 28-year-old reaches Nepal to climb Mera Peak and Island Peak, both standing at 6476 and 6189 metres (m) above sea level respectively.
On his expedition near the world’s biggest mountain, Lhotse, Mr Edwards will be trekking with a flag in tow, appealing to locals asking for sponsorship for his ultimate goal - raising $2000 for the Hear Our Heart Ear Bus Project.
“Anything helps,” Mr Edwards said.
“I am still looking for sponsors whose names would appear on the flag I’m taking,” he said
Mr Edwards has spent countless hours training for his expedition including walking for several hours with a 20 kilogram weighted backpack.
But one thing he has not been able to train for is altitude.
“It’s the first and biggest danger,” he said.
“You do have to be as fit as possible but with climbing there’s a lot of prospective hazards like exposure to big drops, avalanches, crevasses and precarious spots like knife edge ridges that require a lot of concentration.
“Once you get above 4000m the oxygen is 50 per cent so it gets really hard to breathe and you’re gasping for breath every 10 steps,” Mr Edwards said.
After suffering third-degree burns to his hand in 2007 he was determined to not let the injury beat him so took to climbing and trekking in 2007.
“I’ve had the bug since then but the last trip I went was in 2010... so thought this trip could be used to help the project and raise a bit of money for the Ear Bus,” he said.
Mr Edwards will join nine others on the Mera Peak and Island Peak via Amphu Labsta expedition on March 23.