What do two trekking guides, eight keen hikers and I all have in common? We all trekked Mount Kosciuszko to raise vital funds for R U OK?’s suicide prevention programs.
Setting off in February 2022, R U OK?’s Conquer Kozi at Sunrise raised $20,000 to inspire and empower Australians to ask “R U OK?” and seek support when it comes to their mental wellbeing.
As a travel operations consultant at Inspired Adventures, I get to see and learn a lot about incredible destinations around the world, but this adventure was something truly special.
What was it like climbing Mount Kosciuszko?
Before we set off on our adventure I felt a mixture of nervousness and excitement.
I was nervous about trekking up a mountain in the dark hours of the early morning. I mean, I know Mount Kosciuszko isn’t Mount Kilimanjaro, but at 2,228 metres above sea level, it’s still a challenging trek.
I was most excited about meeting a group of people, who each had different stories and experiences, but had all come together for one purpose. I was also keen to meet the staff from R U OK? and hear more about the important work that they do.
As it turns out, my nerves were allayed almost instantly once I met our guides, Matt and Pete.
Knowledgeable and encouraging, Matt and Pete made us all feel valued and capable. They shared stories about past adventures and made us laugh a lot – which helped when we were making our summit attempt after trekking for almost six hours in the rain and wind!
There was nothing like the experience of reaching the summit. Having bonded with the rest of our team members so quickly, when it was time to take the final few steps, we knew just how much this experience meant to us all. Something different had brought each one of us here, but we were all bonded by our personal connection to mental health – some were fighting their own battles while others had lost friends or family members, but in this moment we were struck by the significance of all that we had accomplished and the importance of what we had achieved, both on a personal level and for R U OK?. Though the weather did not treat us to the mountaintop sunrise colours we had been expecting, we all quickly realised that the experience we shared was far more important than a pretty view.
While the trek was amazing, my personal highlight of the weekend was the team dinner on our final night. We all spoke about our experience of the adventure and how it impacted us. It was really eye-opening to hear how an Inspired Adventure can change someone's life and their perspective.
Why summer meadows beat winter ski fields
I honestly didn’t know what to expect of Kosciuszko National Park in the summer, as this was the first time I’d been to the Australian Alps. But I was so surprised by the beauty of its barrenness. It was inspiring and unlike anything I'd ever seen before.
It was amazing to experience a destination I’d been conditioned to see covered in snow in a completely different way in summer. We trekked through woodlands and over grasslands dotted with wildflowers – none of which would be visible during winter. It was just breathtaking.
This adventure has inspired me to take on more trekking challenges in the future. I’d never done a proper trek prior to this adventure. But it felt so rewarding to train for something and accomplish it – especially surrounded by a team of like-minded, passionate people.
Travelling in a small group made everything better
Taking on this adventure with a group of people united by their passion for suicide prevention was an incredible opportunity and honour. The team got along really well and bonded over shared experiences. From the start, our team adopted a very kind, nurturing and easy-going atmosphere. You could tell everyone was there for a purpose and to support each other, even though we’d only just met.
Many of the team had already shared stories about why they were taking on this challenge, so we all had a good insight into how suicide had impacted their lives. It definitely helped solidify why we were all there.
Having staff members from R U OK? on the adventure also really elevated the experience. To hear all about the impact that our fundraising was going to have helped remind us all why we were here.
R U OK? Conquer Kozi at Sunrise was emotional, humbling and rewarding, and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.
Sitting at the top of Australia with my incredible team, reflecting on our shared accomplishments, is a feeling I'll never forget and one I’d recommend to everyone.