Cody Hudson got the bugs from his grandfather who used to be a volunteer on rescue missions operating on New Zealand’s highest mountain, the treacherous Mount Cook. The old man’s love for the outdoor is now taking the Perth adventurer to the highest peak on every continent – the Seven Summits as aspiring mountaineers love to put it.
Mr Hudson always ‘held a desire to climb the Seven Summits, ever since reading a book by the same name’ but he has an ulterior motive behind his 7 Summits Project. He wants to take advantage of his passion for mountains and mountaineering to help a people who left him totally inspired and awed – the friendliest of human beings living at the foot of Nepal’s majestic mountains. In particular, the children.
He visited Nepal mid-2014 to trek the world famous Annapurna Circuit. During the visit, he had an opportunity to teach at a school in Gorkha district but ‘not long enough’, he said. But long enough to find ‘the people there to be the friendliest, warmest and most trustworthy’ he had ever come across anywhere in the world. The young Australian fell in love with the simple, straight-talking country folks of the Himalayan nation.
However, he soon discovered a darker side to the idyllic Shangrila story. He and his friends realised that hidden beneath the trademark smiles were the pains borne out of poverty and depravation. He was particularly devastated to learn how some poor children faced the prospect of a life without education. Mr Hudson found it completely unacceptable and decided to do something about it, however small, “The best way that I know of is to improve the education of the children there, to give them opportunities for the future.”
And that ‘something’ in time turned into a full-fledged project, the 7 Summits Project, which he is currently undertaking in conjunction with Save the Children.
“I guess the Nepalese people were really my inspiration. I wouldn’t have started this project if they hadn’t motivated me to do something to help,’ says the 25 year old.
The 7 Summits Project has a noble objective to meet. Since the birth of the project in 2014 to its end in 2017, the young man from Western Australia will have summited all the highest peaks in each of the seven continents and thereby raise an ambitious $250,000.
The project has already raised $2,318 – an impressive amount given the project is still in its infancy. The money raised will go directly to Save the Children’s Nepal fund and it will be spent solely on education-related activities. “This will be put towards the establishment of schools and education materials in some of the most impoverished areas in the region,” reads the declaration of the 7 Summits Project.
The philanthropic adventure is progressing well. So far, he has ticked off two of the seven peaks and has meticulous planning for rest of the five. Asked how big challenges Mt Everest and Antarctica would be, Mr Hudson said, “They are indeed big challenges, if I were to do them tomorrow then I certainly wouldn’t be prepared. I’m slowly building up to them however and by the time I plan to do both, in 2017, I have no doubt I will be ready. I am practically doing the summits from easiest to hardest, giving me time to gain the necessary skills and experience for those climbs.”
The first in the list of seven to be ticked off was Mount Kilimanjaro. He climbed ‘the roof of Africa, the highest freestanding mountain in the world’ mid-December last year. “The 13-hour summit day was a physical test, particularly above 5,000 metres where the pace was reduced to that of a drunken sloth,” the Perth man recounted his gruelling journey in a piece for WA Today.
Although not as difficult a journey as he might face in the days, months and years to come in the run up to the finish line of the 7 Summits Project, the ascent of the Everest of Africa gave the young man a taste of the thin air. It has prepared him well for the mammoth challenges that lie ahead. He has realised that the most important tool to achieve one’s goal is ‘your mental state’ and to put ‘one foot in front of the other’.
His second peak was Australia’s Mount Kosciuszko, a hillock compared to what he will be climbing in Nepal towards the end of the project. And the third in line is Mt Elbrus in Russia in July.
It is not only the education of the young Nepali kids that he aims to contribute to through his project. He hopes the 7 Summits Project will familiarise Australians with things Nepal has on offer besides the over-killed trekking and mountaineering activities.
He rightly said, “I think most Australians are aware of Nepal but purely from its relationship with the Himalayas and in particular, Mt Everest.” He hopes to play a constructive role in changing that inadequate knowledge about Nepal. Nevertheless, casting the spotlight on the huge challenges faced by school-going Nepali children will be the overarching agenda of the project.
Why would a man from one of the plainest terrains on the planet take on the unforgiving arctic mountains? He has a readymade answer, “Perhaps it was spurred by the significant contrast between the towering, ice cold mountains and the dry, hot as hell, flat as a tack city of Perth I grew up in.”
Mr Hudson aims to finish the project by the end of 2017 but he knows the success of the project depends largely on how well his expeditions to Mt Everest and Antarctica go. His late grandfather instilled in him a deep respect for the mountains, “A lot of unexpected things can happen with mountain climbing!”
Anyone wishing to contribute to the noble cause of Cody Hudson should visit http://7summitsproject.com/