While many will have decided to get more active in the new year, few will be as active as Ryan Doherty from Ravensdales who is currently training to climb Island Peak mountain in the Himalayas for the benefit of Dundalk Dog Rescue.
Ahead of the climb in April, the Democrat chatted with Ryan about his love of climbing, his training and his fundraising efforts.
Born and raised in the mountains of Ravensdale, the 27-year-old has always had a love for hiking and climbing.
“I find it very peaceful, instead of sitting in front of the TV when I was younger I was in the mountains or playing in the fields,” he said.
“I have no interest in football or GAA so at school we used to run day trips to Slieve Foy or Slieve Donard and I would love that.
“If I could sell everything and just live in the forest or the mountains I would, but I don’t think the government or the council would like that,” he joked.
Having previously climbed Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis Dundalk in 2019, Ryan has decided to embark on an even tougher trek which will see him pass through Mount Everest Base Camp.
“I didn’t want to just do a base camp for a hike, I wanted something that would challenge me more, so Island Peak caught my eye with ice climbing and crossing an ice crevasse on a small scale which, to anyone reading this, seems insane, but that’s me!
“I will be great. Of course, that’s a bit crazy, isn’t it? »
But Ryan doesn’t just climb for fun. Dundalk Dog Rescue‘s work caught his eye, motivating him to raise money for their new rescue center being built and to raise awareness about puppy breeding in Ireland.
“I chose Dundalk Dog Rescue after doing a Strictly Come Dancing charity with them in 2019, I hadn’t realized the amazing job they did, they really go above and beyond to make sure these dogs rescue can find their forever home.
“They raise so much awareness to help educate people to help save a rescue dog instead of buying one and fueling the puppy breeding industry in Ireland,” he explained.
The climb was originally scheduled for October 2021 but had to be canceled due to Covid restrictions.
Ryan is looking on the bright side saying it has given him more time to train for the 23-day trek, while adding that he plans to really ramp up his diet in the coming months.
“From January I will be back in the mountains all over Ireland so if you see me have the craic with me!
“My goal is to start introducing longer rides to get more miles.
“As far as preparing for the cold, there is not much to do.
“When I climbed Kilimanjaro temperatures dropped to -19°C.
“My trick there was to use my hot water bottle as a hot water bottle for the night.
“That way I would stay warm and have a nice hot drink when I wake up.”
Although physical training is important, Ryan is quick to praise the support he has received from his family and friends.
“I had a lot of help from Bobby Wain from Dundalk Dog Rescue, he really helped me, my family is great even though my mum wants to beat me for climbing another mountain.
“My girlfriend Amy is a serious hiker and trails me every chance she gets so she’s been great too.”
Fundraising during Covid has been difficult for Ryan, but he still remains optimistic and hopes to raise €20,305, one euro for each foot of the Himalayan summit.
“At the moment I’m at €3,000, so I’m a bit off my €20,305, but I have until April to get there and I really believe we’ll get there.
“The response has been great, the people of Dundalk are great and they really support local causes. I think the more attention this campaign gets, the more donations will come.
“I am particularly interested in involving local businesses.
“So far Niall Clarke from Niall Clarke Oils has donated €1000 and catering house McAteers has also donated €1000 which was fantastic.
“I would like to involve ten local businesses.
Those wishing to support Ryan’s “20305 Bloody Paws to Everest” fundraiser can do so via GoFundMe at: www.gofundme.com/f/20305-bloody-paws-to-everest