March 16, 2019 6:00 am

Winnipeg firefighter climbing Everest for charity

Winnipeg firefighter Chad Swayze is preparing to climb Mount Everest.

Chad Swayze

As a Winnipeg firefighter, Chad Swayze has faced danger as a matter of course throughout his career, but he’s about to take on his biggest challenge yet – literally.

Swayze is about to fly to Nepal to climb the planet’s highest peak, 29,029-foot Mount Everest.

He told 680 CJOB the trek is part of a lifelong passion for outdoor adventure.

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“I started climbing when I was about 15-16 years old,” he said, “and then started taking longer trips into the outdoors. Backpacking, taking all your clothes and food and supplies on your back and disappearing for four or five days, and then heading to the mountains when I was 18.

“I did Kilimanjaro in 2012, Aconcagua in Argentina in 2016, and this is the next progression.

“For Everest, because it’s so big, you have to know how your body’s going to adapt to the altitude, the lack of air, the lack of atmospheric pressure,” he said. “You have to be on another mountain to test yourself, really. There’s always altitude sickness once you get into the big stuff.”

READ MORE: 69-year-old double amputee sets record, reaches Everest summit on fifth attempt

Although Swayze said he’s invested well over $60,000 of his own money in the trip – including training, equipment, plane tickets, and more – he’s hoping to turn his Everest experience into a moneymaker of its own, with funds going to a very worthy cause.

All of the money raised by Swayze’s fundraiser will go to the Never Alone Foundation – of which he’s a board member – a local charity that focuses on making an impact on the lives of cancer patients.

“I want to do this to raise funds for people who are going through it, who are affected by cancer,” he said.

Although he’s been physically training for the climb since last summer, Swayze said Winnipeg’s colder-than-usual winter has been a bit of a bonus when prepping for the chilling winds of the Himalayas.

“Given the winter that we’ve gone through, I’ll be heading up to -30C, so going through the cold weather kind of trains me for that,” he said.

“I’ve always been physically fit, with my job being a firefighter, but as for the physical training, it’s been since August of last year. I’m down about 15 pounds, which is 15 pounds less I have to carry up the mountain, so everything’s going well.”

More information about Swayze’s trip can be found online at the Never Alone Foundation site.

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