There are no set rules, no black or white answers which define what an adventure or a challenge is. For me it’s all about the grey areas. Trying something new, making something my own. So inspired by the British three peak challenge I have gone about creating my own ‘different kind of three peak’ challenge, summiting not Britain’s peaks but some of Europe’s highest.
I’ve always wanted to ‘do’ the three peaks challenge, this sees a person summit the UK’s three highest peaks (Ben Nevis, Snowdon & Scafell Pike) in a given time period, normally a weekend. Of course there are many variations on this so I started thinking how I would like to approach this and do something a little different, something that doesn’t have the travel marketing experts telling me it’s a challenge; something of my own. One idea let to another and before I knew it I had committed myself to climbing some of Europe’s highest peaks, completely forgetting about the UK.
I wanted the peaks to be a challenge but they also had to be realistic. I’m not foolish enough to tackle mountains like the Matterhorn so after some online research I had chosen my peaks. Mt Teide 3,718M, Spain’s highest peak and an active volcano; The Zugspitze 2,962M Germanys heights peak; Mt Olympus 2,919M Greece’s highest peak and home of the legendary Olympians. I rounded up some friends and we set off on three incredible mini adventures.
Each mountain was tackled over a long weekend in the summer, four days allowed plenty of time to travel, climb and of course rest after each trip. Each mountain was an adventure in their own right. The heat and altitude on Teide proved almost unbearable. The length of the Zugspitze trek almost saw us give up and On Olympus the scrambling was truly death-defying. But we made it.
On reflection not only had I satisfied my quinch for my own challenge I leant two vital lessons. Firstly, there’s tones of organisations out there that try to brand and sell you an adventure but one you’ve created yourself can’t be beaten.
Secondly, I learnt how to maximise my precious holiday allowance granted to me by my employer (by law). Simply put, these three amazing trips took collectively 12 days to complete, as each was over a weekend – that’s six weekdays. Two of these were over a bank holiday which means that I only had to take four days off work. That’s FOUR DAYS off work and I’ve climbed three of Europe’s highest mountains. It really goes to show that with some planning you really can strike a work and adventure balance.
Since my ‘different kind of three peaks’ challenge I’ve tried to apply what I learnt to other adventures and can say so far the ‘doinit way’ has taken me from one great adventure to the next – all without me having to give up my day job.