first_imgMountaineer Jason Black talks to Donegal Daily about his greatest ever challenge as he prepares to risk life and limb to climb one of the most feared mountains in the world.Jason Black admits that he is putting in life on the line in his attempt to climb K2.Jason Black is focused.He fixes a steely gaze and says he has absolutely no doubts that he will return from the biggest challenge of his life sometime in September.The Donegal mountaineer has just announced that he is to take on The Savage.The Savage is what those in the world of mountain climbing refer to K2 as.It’s an unforgiving mass of protruding rock which many reckon to be the most difficult climb in the world.Only 302 people have ever reached its summit but 80 of those have never returned, many entombed in its frozen landscape for eternity.It has never been climbed in the winter.For now the world of dry foods, oxygen masks, frostbite and pure mental exhaustion seem a world away.And they are.Black sits happily in the comfy confines of The Moonshine Cafe on Joe Bonnar Road on the outskirts of Letterkenny munching on a scone and sipping coffee.Dressed casually in a hoodie and jeans, his chiselled, stubble-covered jawline a giveaway of the punishing fitness regime he has put himself through for the past year in anticipation of his forthcoming expedition.Black has an Irish flag, a Donegal flag and a Relay for Life flag in his pack to raise on the top of K2.Physical and mental fitness The Letterkenny man knows he needs to be in peak physical and mental shape if he is to return home safely.He admits that he has spoken to his wife Sharon about the worst possible scenario he faces if things go wrong several thousand metres above sea level when he looks The Savage in the eye.“Yes, we have chatted about what could happen. I know I can summit the mountain and return safely and I am confident in my ability but I simply don’t know what Mother Nature will throw at us.“I know what I must do and I know what rests in front of me.“But, being honest, I think it will be even more difficult for Sharon at home. She will be here trying to keep things together for the children, helping to run the business and wondering exactly how things are going for me.”While many may have asked Black the reason for wanting to conquer Everest, many will be wondering why he will put his life on the line once again.For 44 year old Black it is about challenging both his body and mind and stepping out of his comfort zone.“It’s about challenging myself all the time. I have to do that – it’s just the way I am.“I see people and they never appear to be challenging themselves and they go through their lives without setting themselves any targets. I couldn’t live like that. It doesn’t have to be a big thing – it could be just deciding to go for a long walk everyday, to increase that to a 5k or to do a marathon.“Climbing K2 is that challenge for me now.”Ger McDonnellAs well as the inner challenge, he admits that he has been influenced greatly by the experiences of fellow mountaineer Ger McDonnell.McDonnell was a Co Limerick man who was the first Irishman ever to summit K2 but who tragically died in 2008, aged just 37, on the way back down during an avalanche as he tried to selflessly help other Korean climbers who had got into trouble.Black was given a copy of McDonnell’s book as he prepared to climb Everest and it struck a chord with him.“People have said many things about Ger McDonnell, many of them not so positive, but for me he was an amazing guy.“I have noticed so many similarities in our mountaineering careers. I am not doing K2 in honour of him but he will be in my thoughts a lot,” added Black.As well as the physical challenge presented by the 8,611 metre (28,251 ft) mountain, Jason says the mental questions asked of him by The Savage will be quite horrific.“I have spent weeks building up all the positive thoughts which I must bring to the front of my mind when things get tough. When I can barely walk a step, when I cannot speak, when my limbs are aching.”Donegal flag He will bring the Irish flag, the Donegal flag and a Relay for Life flag with him when he makes it to the top.Needless to say he will also bring a picture of his family.Other pictures which will be embedded in his mind will be that of his late mother and also his late brother Billy who was tragically killed in a motorbike crash in America.When (and he stresses ‘when’) he returns, Black says his focus will be to visit as many schools as possible to tell students about his experience and why they too can achieve their goals, whatever they may be.“I had a lot of challenges in my life including being bullied when I was younger. I’m obviously a different person now but I faced a lot of challenges in becoming the positive person I am today.“I want to go into schools when I return and tell those kids that they can do and be whatever they like – and they can.”Port BridgeAnd with that our time is over.What was meant to b a quick coffee has lasted more than an hour and a half.It’s only a few short days before he says goodbye to Sharon and the kids and boards the early morning Bus Eireann carrier, beyond the Port Bridge to Dublin and on to Pakistan.Many question the motives and logic behind Black’s decision to literally put his life on the line.But only his family have the right to do that.The rest of us should perhaps simply wish him all the luck in the world and hope that he returns home safely when those children have returned to school to hear of his adventures once more.SM‘MY LIFE IS NOW IN THE HANDS OF MOTHER NATURE’ – JASON BLACK was last modified: June 19th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalJason BlackK2mountainsummitlast_img read more

Read More