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My deafness didn't stop me climbing some of the tallest mountains in the world

Man on a mountain

Chris (29) lost his hearing instantly in a grenade attack in Afghanistan while serving in the army aged 20. He’s profoundly deaf and has one cochlear implant and one hearing aid.

Chris has never let this hold him back and, since being medically discharged from the Armed Forces, he’s got involved with Walking With The Wounded, a charity who raise money and public awareness for veterans by climbing mountains and taking part in other challenges.

“My favourite thing about climbing mountains is the amazing scenery,” Chris says. “The valleys in the Alps and Himalayas are phenomenal.” Chris has now trekked to the base camp of Mount Everest, over 5,000m up, climbed Matterhorn and Mont Blanc in the Alps and on Manaslu in Nepal.

"They use a series of predetermined tugs on the rope to let me know what we need to do."

But he does encounter challenges climbing with a hearing loss. “When you’re climbing, the most important people around you are your mountain guide and whoever you’re attached to,” Chris explains. “What the guide says is really important. They use a series of predetermined tugs on the rope to let me know what we need to do. The guide or climbing partner also makes sure they never get too far away from me.

“My greatest achievement was standing at the summit of the Matterhorn. I ended up going to Chamonix three times to do it as the weather wasn’t good enough to climb the first two. On my third attempt I was the least prepared and least fit but still managed the summit. There was a storm behind us on the way down; I was just fast enough to get down the mountain ahead of it so I didn’t get stuck. A true experience like none other.”

To find out more about Walking With The Wounded, visit www.walkingwiththewounded.org.uk.