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Ex-Grenadier Guard plans to raise £20,000 by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – while carrying a 30kg fridge on his back


An ex-Grenadier guard is planning to raise £20,000 by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro while carrying a 30kg fridge on his back.

Former serviceman Michael Copeland will take on the huge 19340ft (5,895m) climb next month.

The 39-year-old previously summited the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales in under 24 hours to raise cash for mental health charity Mind.

But he believes the challenge of reaching the pinnacle in North Eastern Tanzania in support of the foundation will be his toughest yet.

He had felt ‘lost’ after leaving the army in 2007, which he joined as a teenager, and struggled with obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

But he said taking the fridge – measuring 31.5 inches (80cm) tall and 15.5 inches (40cm) wide – over Britain’s highest peaks had helped him to start a wider conversation about mental health.

Former serviceman Michael Copeland will take on the huge 19340ft (5,895m) climb

Former serviceman Michael Copeland will take on the huge 19340ft (5,895m) climb

The 39-year-old previously summited the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales in under 24 hours to raise cash for mental health charity Mind

The 39-year-old previously summited the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales in under 24 hours to raise cash for mental health charity Mind

He had felt 'lost' after leaving the army in 2007, which he joined as a teenager, and struggled with obsessive-compulsive tendencies

He had felt ‘lost’ after leaving the army in 2007, which he joined as a teenager, and struggled with obsessive-compulsive tendencies

He believes the challenge of reaching the pinnacle in North Eastern Tanzania in support of the foundation will be his toughest yet. Pictured is Mr Copeland training for the challenge

He believes the challenge of reaching the pinnacle in North Eastern Tanzania in support of the foundation will be his toughest yet. Pictured is Mr Copeland training for the challenge

 Mr Copland, who has now climbed more than 25 British mountains with his fridge, will start his ascent of Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, on March 18.

He will take all his supplies, including camping gear and clothes, inside the white cooler, which will be strapped to his back using a harness.

Mr Copeland said: ‘I don’t think I can take the fridge physically any higher than Kilimanjaro, so this is a big statement to try and raise funds and awareness.

‘It’s a seven-day hike with a 30kg box on your back. It will take about five days to get to the top.

‘The altitude is probably the hardest challenge, and that final summit day is actually the killer.’

The father-of-two from Stafford began his incredible awareness campaign two years ago when he climbed up Snowdon while carrying a fridge full of beer.

He said: ‘Everyone always asks the same question: ‘Why a fridge?’

‘But the answer is always the same. It’s not about the fridge, it could have been any very awkward object. It’s what it represents – mental health.

‘It’s very awkward and very heavy on your shoulders, and it’s awkward to talk about.

‘So the fridge is a way to get people talking and opening up about their mental health.’

Mr Copland, who has now climbed more than 25 British mountains with his fridge, will start his ascent of Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, on March 18

Mr Copland, who has now climbed more than 25 British mountains with his fridge, will start his ascent of Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, on March 18

He will take all his supplies, including camping gear and clothes, inside the white cooler, which will be strapped to his back using a harness

He will take all his supplies, including camping gear and clothes, inside the white cooler, which will be strapped to his back using a harness

Mr Copeland said his travel company had managed to source him a fridge in Tanzania, so he doesn't have to lug his appliance all the way from the UK

Mr Copeland said his travel company had managed to source him a fridge in Tanzania, so he doesn’t have to lug his appliance all the way from the UK

The father-of-two from Stafford began his incredible awareness campaign two years ago when he climbed up Snowdon while carrying a fridge full of beer

The father-of-two from Stafford began his incredible awareness campaign two years ago when he climbed up Snowdon while carrying a fridge full of beer

Mr Copeland said his travel company had managed to source him a fridge in Tanzania, so he doesn’t have to lug his appliance all the way from the UK.

But he said it was still very usual for people to bring such heavy loads to the summit of Africa’s highest mountain.

He added: ‘The normal climbers aren’t allowed to carry more than 15kg. I’ve got to sign a waiver saying I can carry more than 20kg.

‘The fridge is slightly bigger than the one I’ve got. It’s about 50mm higher, 50mm wider and a little bit deeper.

‘I’ve got to take my carrying frame and my harness with me, and I’ve got an extra day to acclimatize when I get there.’



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