A Moorlands man has taken on a mammoth climb. And despite Peter Wood, who is originally from Forsbrook, not completing a challenge to climb to the top of Chimborazo in Ecuador, the former Painsley High School student, and his family, are still very proud of the energetic accomplishment.
A Moorlands man has taken on a mammoth climb.
And despite Peter Wood, who is originally from Forsbrook, not completing a challenge to climb to the top of Chimborazo in Ecuador, the former Painsley High School student, and his family, are still very proud of the energetic accomplishment.
Here, Peter’s proud dad, Lev Wood Snr, who still lives in Forsbrook, writes of his son’s endeavours:
The margins between success and failure in mountain climbing is extremely fine. For the hillwalker to reach the summit of their first Munroe (above 3,000 feet) is a tremendous feeling, yet for the climber, simply overcoming and holding your nerve whilst respecting and understanding your own level of competence makes the sport, a personal challenge of science as well as an art form.
For both however, complacency and arrogance are the primary enemies to overcome when making decisions to continue or not. For if the senses are ignored, they can become a recipe for disaster which can lead to fatal consequences.
The delicate balance for a responsible leader consequently is to save lives rather than seek personal glory in any form of adventure and exploration.
Being born in Staffordshire, Peter discovered a love for the great outdoors through participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, finding the somewhat lesser heights of the Roaches near Leek a great learning experience.
Often described as presenting some of the best and technically difficult short routes in the UK by Doug Scott who was noted for being on the team that made the first ascent of the south-west face of Mount Everest on September 24, 1975, became a boyhood idol for Peter.
With such a role model described as setting ‘a visionary style’ to emulate, Peter trained in our local ‘mountains’, whilst he grew up in Forsbrook to become a proficient amateur climber and in recent years to become a member of the Derbyshire Mountain Rescue Team.
With subsequent personal climbs undertaken across Europe, particularly in the Balkan countries, trekking in the Himalayas, plus a solo mountain rescue in Argentina whilst climbing Mt Aconcagua, his desire to claim one further South American summit became his goal for 2022.
Travelling via Spain to Ecuador with his companion and novice co climber Alex, they joined with their local guide C. M. Rapper in the capital city Quito before travelling to the base of Chimborazo.
Messaging me, Peter said: “You could immediately feel the altitude difference as soon as we had left the plane. Everything took longer to do than expected, breathing was difficult, so they had decided to take a few days to become accustomed to the conditions before travelling to base camp.”
This decision had its own knock-on impact, for the weather conditions on the mountain were deteriorating and the window they had planned to reach the summit was rapidly closing. Black ice and melting snow produce local avalanches, which have claimed the lives of four climbers in October 2021… so this became a key factor that could not be ignored.
Reaching the snow and ice line was achieved after a good climb that took one and a half days and although the going got tougher and tougher, the high camp was reached late on day two. Even with the summit shrouded by a low-lying mist, it was becoming ever clearer that to go further was beyond the reach of the two British climbers.
The altitude had taken its toll and even the fittest of climbers have a limit to which they can push their air starved bodies. For Peter he had set a personal best for height, by reaching the Whymper refuge (5,000 m/ 16,400 ft), but light heads and sickness take their toll, so following sound advice from their guide, their climb was sadly abandoned.
With great reluctance, the retreat to Quito was made in silence but the stoic comment back to me in Forsbrook, simply stated: “We tried our best Dad but the mountain is not going anywhere and there is always another day and there is a still lot to see and do in Ecuador.”
Disappointed but not dispirited – Peter will climb another day.
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