Oscars toubkal challenge

Oscar’s Toubkal Challenge

Oscar’s Toubkal
Challenge

Why would a child that’s just 9 years old want to climb a mountain
that’s 3 times the height of Ben Nevis?

Why indeed … the question asked by mum Nikki Osthus who is accompanying her son Oscar in an attempt to hit the summit of Mt Toubkal on 24 Aug, all in aid of SHELTER, the charity for the Homeless.

Showing incredible maturity for one so young, this heart felt article will show you why this brave young man will, I feel sure, hit this lofty summit to help the homeless.

Nikki picks up the story…..

“As a family, we have supported Guide Dogs and last year, Oscar did a charity 5k run with our own guide dog to raise funds. On completion, he asked if we could share the donations with a homeless charity as it was a charity he really wanted to support. Every time we come across a homeless person (sadly too often), he asks them whether they would like something to eat or drink and we would get them something. We agreed that if he really wanted to do an event that we would support him 100% and following a reliable recommendation, we contacted Terry from Travel and Trek to discuss options. Oscar is a keen climber – he climbed Snowdon the first time when he was 7 and Scafell Pike at 8 so it only made sense for the challenge to involve climbing.”

Keep reading to see how Oscar got on….

Nepal Tea House

Oscar himself

“As a family, we have supported Guide Dogs and last year, Oscar did a charity 5k run with our own guide dog to raise funds. On completion, he asked if we could share the donations with a homeless charity as it was a charity he really wanted to support. Every time we come across a homeless person (sadly too often), he asks them whether they would like something to eat or drink and we would get them something. We agreed that if he really wanted to do an event that we would support him 100% and following a reliable recommendation, we contacted Terry from Travel and Trek to discuss options. Oscar is a keen climber – he climbed Snowdon the first time when he was 7 and Scafell Pike at 8 so it only made sense for the challenge to involve climbing.”

Time to realise what Oscar’s up against.

At 4167m (13,671 feet), Mt Toubkal is a tough climb (3 times higher than Ben Nevis) and the highest point in North Africa.

Many adults do not make this summit due to physical exhaustion or some altitude issues. Toubkal’s summit is easily into altitude sickness territory although descent soon brings you back to normal. This region has its own microclimate; the weather can change rapidly. There is no shelter en route, it’s exposed for the duration of the climb, which takes about 7 hrs return.

We spoke to Nikki (Oscar’s mother) about the climb and we would not have accepted the booking had we not been convinced and content that Oscar was up for this and ready to give it a good go.

Nikki continues ….

“Throughout the past months, we have learnt so much about the horror that is homelessness and it’s opened our eyes a lot. Most of us, including myself, have a slightly preconceived idea of why a person is homeless, the reality is a lot more scary when you realise how many types of people it effects and how, as a country, we could do so much more.”

“We have done lots of fundraising over the past few months and the generosity of complete strangers has been overwhelming at times. We have sadly also received some negative comments. However, as his mother, there is no doubt in my head that this is something that has helped him hugely as a person – he’s more confident, has learned to ignore the negativity, and knows that if you feel strongly about it, you need to follow your heart. His teacher has also told me that she has noticed a difference in his behaviour. Oscar hates the limelight but there have been times, he has had to step out of his comfort zone such as during a radio interview.”

Oscar and the Shelter Truck

Oscar and his Dad’s fire engine

Oscar Hoodie

Oscar and his Hoodie

Oscar on top of Pen-y-fan

Oscar on top of Pen-y-fan

“He’s physically able, however we sometimes struggle with the mental ability. It’s difficult for a child to do a long hike with only his mind to keep him company (and chats to his poor mother). We recently climbed Snowdon in 28 degrees and there was still fuel in his engine after a long hot day.  While his Dad is the fit one in our family, I have chosen to do this challenge with him despite a few health issues to show my children that everything is possible. I often say to Oscar, the physical ability is the small part, the positive attitude is the part that will get you up that mountain.”

“We both have times where we worry whether we’ll make it to the top but I know we will both try our best and whatever happens, we have raised significant funds for Shelter, we have raised awareness of homelessness and we have pushed ourselves mentally and physically. Whatever the result, I am immensely proud of my son, Oscar.”

Proud of my son‘ are Nikki’s words ‘whatever the result‘ and so she should be. I am convinced Oscar’s ‘engine’ will get him there. It will be mentally tough for him (as well as physically).

So how did Oscar fair?

There was nothing wrong with Oscar’s ‘engine’ and nothing wrong with this brave young man’s mental attitude either. Indeed Oscar’s decision to abort on the final climb due to the altitude, albeit sad, shows great maturity. It’s so easy to push on for that summit only to end up in deep trouble but the mountain will always be there and I have no doubts Oscar will return one day to finish the job.

CHARITY CHALLENGES FOR CHILDREN

Take a look at some of our challenges suitable for children. Whilst not on our charity website, they are on our sister website and we can easily convert them to charity challenge.

  • We discuss any challenge that involves children with a parent to ensure it’s the right one for them.
  • We have children ourselves; they are our guinea pigs!
  • These are great adventures; their school friends will be jealous!
  • Safety is key – knowing the risks and what to do about them is paramount.
  • Every child is different – just talk to us; 01529 488159.
2018-10-23T09:06:04+00:00

About the Author:

Terry Crosby is the founder/co-owner of Travel and Trek Limited, an established global adventure travel company. A former Mountain Leader and Arctic Survival Instructor, he has extensive experience of high altitude, arctic and desert environments. He is a proud ex serviceman with a 33 year career behind him.