Cheryl Howard, 49 year-old chartered accountant and supporter of STEPS, will be climbing Mount Elbrus – the highest mountain in Russia – in July to raise funds and awareness for STEPS.
We asked her a few questions before she sets off on this epic journey.
Q: Tell us about the journey that you will be undertaking as a STEPSsister.
A: The journey starts with lots of training – gym work, long walks around Bryanston with a weighted back pack and a weekly climb at the Westcliff Stairs. Family and friends have been a great support in walking with me or “doing” the stairs – albeit without the back pack.
Next comes the kit. Double Plastic boots and crampons, an ice pick (a mother’s day gift from my kids), socks rated to minus 25 degrees and below, double lined waterproof gloves, a minus 30 degree down jacket and an even warmer sleeping bag.
On 10 July 2014, a 24 hour journey from O R Tambo, via Doha, overnighting in Moscow to Elbrus village at the foot of Mount Elbrus in the Baksan Valley starts the adventure. Days 3, 4, 5 and 6 are spent acclimatising between Mount Cheget, the Priyut ruins and the Pastukhov Rocks spending the nights at a lower altitude, in a barrel. Day 7 starts at midnight when we ascend the western summit of Mount Elbrus – all ice and snow at 5 642 meters.
Mount Elberus is in the Caucasus mountain range which stretches between the Black and Caspian Seas and borders Europe and Asia. Some believe the range tops the Alps as the finest mountain range in Europe, with Elberus as one of the world’s most beautiful volcanoes.
Q: What made you decide to become a STEPSsister?
A: Karen Moss is an old friend from our Morgan Bay holidays. I’ve followed her journey with STEPS and Alex’s successful treatment. More recently the three month old baby son of a previous member of staff has just been fitted with the Ponseti Clubfoot Brace.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about the journey?
A: It’s about stepping out of my comfort zone and meeting the challenge that I have set for myself head on. That and some good Russian Vodka!
Q: How can people get involved to support you and raise money/awareness for STEPS?
A: By me stepping out it would be great if those who visited the website stepped up, followed the link and donated what they can to a great initiative.
Q: What message would you like people to take away from your journey?
A: If you put your mind to it, believe in yourself, then anything is possible.
We look forward to hearing how Cheryl’s climb goes. If you would like to join her in stepping up, you can donate to STEPS here.
Read more about Cheryl and her journey here.