29-year-old Josh Worley will scale more than 30 mountains in 2018 with a goal of raising $100,000 for ReachOut Australia and the Climate Council. The trip fulfils a long-term dream and Josh hopes to raise awareness of mental health and sustainability at the same time.

Over 140 days, Josh will climb 33 separate peaks – eight of them greater than 6000 metres – and travel more than 34 vertical kilometres of technical terrain. The trip spans ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies, the Peruvian Andes, big wall rock climbing in the Sierra Nevada and alpine routes in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. It’s an epic journey sparked by Josh’s love of climbing developed over the last 10 years.

Josh was born and raised in Gladstone, Queensland – far away from mountains and climbers – and didn’t get his first taste of outdoor rock climbing until a trip to Thailand at 19.

‘In a trip of many firsts, those two days climbing at a limestone formation known as “Crazy Horse Buttress” were my favourite and I was irrefutably hooked,’ says Josh.

Josh says he spends more weekends climbing outside of Brisbane than in the city itself, and regularly travels long distances to seek out new challenges – but the insatiable climber is keen to take it to the next level.

‘After my last climbing trip I thought that maybe I was ready to start planning something bigger, something bolder; something that would really push me as an individual and as a climber.

‘I knew that by spending time in areas around the world renowned for different climbing styles, I’d be challenged and grow both as a climber and as a person.

Josh’s lofty goal of raising $100,000 for ReachOut and the Climate Council grew from his belief in the importance of addressing climate change and the positive impact that being outdoors can have on mental health.

‘Climbing is largely a selfish pursuit – no one else directly benefits when you reach the summit or finally stick the crux on your project. I looked for ways I could give something back, to take something selfish and create some benefit for the wider community. I decided that the best way for me to do this was by raising funds for a charity.’

Josh calls himself a ‘regular weekend warrior’ who says it’s not beyond any individual to dream big.

‘Climbing for me has never been about being the best. I will never be the strongest climber at the crag, I won’t be setting any speed records in the mountains anytime soon and I don’t have the desire to push the limit of ice or aid climbing.

‘This trip is about conserving the amazing environments I love and promoting how they can have such a positive impact on our personal development and mental health,’ he adds.

Josh will launch his Vertical Year at a fundraising event in Brisbane on 20 January 2018: buy tickets here. You can donate to support his incredible adventure, follow his climbs on Instagram, or learn more on his website.

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