We’re thrilled to share that, earlier this month, David Moriarty, a senior planning engineer at Careys, successfully reached the summit of 6962m Mt Aconcagua – the highest mountain in both the Southern and Western Hemispheres.
David set out to scale Mt Aconcagua – which is set in Mendoza Province, Argentina – in order to raise funds for Evelina London Children's Hospital. His mountain-climbing feat was sponsored and supported by a partnership between the Careys Civil Engineering teams at the One Nine Elms and Marble Arch Place projects.
Together, these two project teams have committed to raise a combined target of £25,000 to donate to Evelina London Children’s Hospital – a facility dedicated to caring for children and young people from across south London and south east England.
We are pleased to announce that – after persevering through his 26-day challenge on behalf of a fantastic cause – David has returned home safely, ready to share the incredible experience of his summit challenge with us:
An early start
After 15 tough days of traveling, and with my alarm ringing at 3:15am, I began to wonder why I was even there. But, as I took my first painful steps at 5:00am, on a stomach with only three spoonfuls of porridge in it, everything at last began to make sense when we were greeted by a magnificent sunrise. It was the sort of sunrise that you can only ever experience in the mountains, at this elevation. Deep down, I knew that this was a sign and that it would provide the catalyst for what was to come. The warmth of the sun would push us along.
Overcoming a proverbial wall
Seven and a half hours into summit day, I experienced equipment problems that left me feeling like I’d hit a proverbial wall. I sat there, with my left crampon disintegrated in my hand, looking up in despair at the Canaleta glacier – the mountain’s last real obstacle. So many thoughts went through my head: “Turn back. Go and get warm lower down the mountain. There's food at camp. This is the highest you've been, it's already a win.” I could have given up at that point. But, because I am constantly driven to improve and find out my true breaking point, I soon realised that it was actually these thoughts – rather than the Canaleta glacier or my broken crampon – that were truly holding me back. I recognised that:
This is me vs. me, not me vs. the mountain.
This flicked an internal switch in me. After a few choice words to myself, I took my gloves off and felt the sting of the 55km/h wind against my skin. I repaired my crampon and got up the glacier as quickly as I would have had I been at sea level. With the wind in my sails and the summit now in full view, there was no stopping me. I stepped onto the plateau at 2.36pm. I will never forget that moment or that view. I gave my guide a hug and thanked him for getting me there.
Eddie the bear
It was hard not to get overwhelmed by the limited oxygen and sense of achievement. But, as soon as I started to unpack my camera, I saw my little travel companion, Eddie the teddy bear, from Evelina Children's Hospital and I remembered why I was there. I had made a promise to get Eddie to the top of Mt Aconcagua with me.
The true goal of this trip wasn't me getting to the peak of the Argentinian mountain, it was providing hope to all the children at the hospital. My dearest wish is that this photo of their companion at the summit will give them the strength to continue to fight the individual battles they're currently facing.
As I looked around, staring out at the vast, magnificent Andes for one last time before descending, I felt truly proud of myself. I began to think, “I'm at 6962m. We take flights that don’t rise much higher! What's next? Is there a ceiling to human capabilities? If I can do this, why not go higher? ...watch this space.”
A big thank you to all our sponsors below who kindly supported David’s challenge.
Liam O’Shea Electrical
If you’d like to donate towards his efforts, please click here.