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Former student climbs Mount Kilimanjaro

Thu, Aug 19th, 2021
Worth School

A former Worth student has sent a powerful message about resilience to the current cohort after successfully climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Tom Hicks, who was in Butler and left in 2013, spent six days scaling Africa’s highest peak earlier this month, reaching Uhuru Peak and standing at 5,895m or 19,340ft above sea level. Along with friends, he took on the challenge to raise money for Sean Swarner’s ‘Mission of Hope’ cancer appeal and in honour of all those who have battled or are battling cancer.

He said: “There is no doubt this is a challenge both physically and mentally. The long hard grind can wear you down but when you finally reach the roof of Africa you realise it is well worth it. I could not recommend it highly enough to anyone thinking of doing it.”

Asked about the doubts which anyone feels taking on such a challenge, Tom had some wise words for current Worth pupils. He said: “During the climb there are many moments when you have a small seed of doubt that creeps into your head. It’s the same as, I’m sure, we all have from time to time whether in the build up to a big meeting, exam or event. When you hit that moment on the mountain I found it useful to connect back to what you have already achieved and eliminate the option of quitting from your mind. If you don’t allow yourself the option to quit, heading on up the mountain becomes a lot easier. Not to say that this is an easy thing to do! It takes practice but it is something everyone is capable of doing.

“This would be my advice to any student or anybody facing a challenge and a voice of doubt: look at the progress you have made up to now and instil a resilience in you that doesn’t allow yourself to quit. If you fail, does it matter? If you fail it means you have tried and that’s a win in my opinion.”

Tom, who also coaches rugby at Worth, is now preparing a North Pole expedition in April 2022. He said: “We will be undertaking the expedition as an unsupported project, meaning we have no supply drops or mechanised (or canine!) transport. We will ski from the last degree of latitude to 90 degrees North with all of our supplies in our pulka (sled) behind us. We will face enormous pressure ridges of compacted ice forced up into obstacles the size of houses and thin ice caused by the warming climate as well as, although hopefully not, the polar bear threat.

“The expedition is designed to showcase a pathway to a net carbon zero future, through bringing home the harsh impacts our warming of the planet is having on this region. To find out more about the expedition, my training and my partners who are helping to make the expedition happen go to www.tomhicksadventurer.com.”