Eyes on the prize ... Everest summit bid at 59

David  Bradley
David Bradley
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AS men approach retirement some think about putting their feet up, enjoying more golf or taking up gardening.

But one intrepid Yorkshireman is preparing to take one of the world’s toughest physical and mental challenges.

David Bradley, who will be 59 later this year, has been training for five years for a once-in-a-lifetime attempt at reaching the summit of Everest, which stands at 29,029ft.

The semi-retired finance director and his wife Helen, who live near Thirsk in North Yorkshire, will trek for two weeks to reach Everest base camp in Nepal – itself at a lung-bursting 17,000ft – and will then part company as Mr Bradley pushes for the summit via the popular South Col route.

He will be part of a team of nine paying climbers led by Sheffield company Jagged Globe’s professional guides and a team of experienced sherpas.

Although he jokes that he is a “journeyman mountain climber” and a “good plodder”, he has prepared himself well for the ultimate test of stamina and endurance.

In 2009 he and one of his sons, Christopher, climbed Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc (15,772ft).

Four years later Mr Bradley reached the 20,237ft summit of Mount McKinley (also known as Denali) in Alaska at the second attempt.

He has tackled Himalayan challenges before as well,

having climbed a 20,305ft mountain in the region called Island Peak.

Reaching the summit of Mount McKinley, he says, taught him the importance of having a positive attitude, which should help during the long days approaching the top of Everest.

“Climbing Denali really showed me the power of positive thinking. With a more positive attitude it became easier than when I had self doubts on the first attempt.

“It took 17 days to get to the top. You fly in at 7,000ft and for the next 16 days you move up through the various camps.

“Getting to the top of these mountains is a very emotional experience and very tearful because it takes a lot of physical and mental effort.”

He expects reaching the top of Everest will be just as emotional and believes that he can do it.

“I have got to be positive and believe, otherwise there is no point in trying. You have just got to keep plodding and I’m good at plodding.”

Reaching the summit is not just about being mentally and physically fit. Climbers also have to pay a lot of money for the privilege.

The cost of joining the Jagged Globe Everest expedition is around £35,000 and Mr Bradley believes that his total outlay – including kit and training trips – will be closer to £50,000 when it is all totted up.

If he does reach the top, he plans to unfurl a sash to promote Dementia Forward, a small Yorkshire charity which works with dementia sufferers.

He and his wife are hoping to raise £10,000 for Dementia Forward.

“We are doing this to raise money to support those affected by dementia. We hope to be able to look back on our adventures in later life but for many, such memories are denied them by this devastating disease.

“Donations do not finance the trip – every pound raises goes towards the many support services provided by Dementia Forward to improve the quality of life for their clients and carers.”

Mrs Bradley, 58, is a support worker for the charity and was part of a small team which set it up in 2012.

Her late father had dementia.

The couple’s other son, Richard, who lives in Geneva, said that reaching the summit will be an “impressive feat for his age”.

Richard added: “He is not really a climber and is 59 this year but has always wanted to do something big like this.

“He decided that mentally he can do it and has been making sure that physically he can do it.

“He has been training in Scotland and training every day at the gym.

“For me it shows what you can do at any stage of your life.

“He has always been very trim but his fitness now is phenomenal. He is always at the gym.”

The process of getting to the top of the planet’s highest peak is predictably very demanding.

However management at Jagged Globe, said it had a good track record in getting its clients to the top.

To donate go to: http://www.everyclick.com/bradleys_on_everest/info