01 December 2017

Updates on the MCF team’s journey to summit Mount Aconcagua



The challenging Mount Aconcagua

Our fundraiser this year is for our executive director, Ben Freeth and his team to climb Mount Aconcagua, which is located in the Argentinean Andes. Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the world outside the Himalayas, standing at 6,962m/22,841ft. The sheer altitude, as well as high winds and deep snowfalls, make the climb extremely tough.

To acclimatise, they are first summiting Chile’s Cerro el Plomo (5,424m/17,795ft)

The money raised will go towards the vital work of the Mike Campbell Foundation in Zimbabwe. To donate, visit our JustGiving page:


The team set off from Harare International Airport on Friday 24 November 2017

Updates from Ben and the team:

28/11/17: Cerro El Plomo - camp at 4,140m

The team is currently camped at 4,140m in a vast, barren landscape of rock and ice and snow. We aim to make the summit of Cerro El Plomo 1,300m above us starting at 1am tomorrow. We are tired but morale is good and the weather looks excellent.

27/11/2017: Cerro El Plomo - at 3,670m

Perfect weather – now at 3,670 metres.  Cerra El Plomo towering above us.  Signal difficult. Hoping to get to Santiago on Thursday evening.

23/11/2017: Message from Ben before he set off:

We are raising #thisflag to the world's highest point outside the Himalayas to raise money for justice and former farm workers in Zimbabwe:

“We have faced massive persecution and witnessed terrible destruction in Zimbabwe. It requires courage, tenacity and teamwork to overcome them and move forward. The camaraderie, grit and triumph involved in summiting great mountains are valuable lessons for life's other formidable challenges.”

I don't think I have ever been so ill prepared for an expedition. The last two weeks has been so full. In amongst planting crops, packing and distributing our maize seed to former farm workers and all the things of a new season, the President of 37 years has been overthrown in a bloodless coup. It has been charged with such emotion, such joy, so many hearts bursting and so many rivers of tears flowing. As I ended one interview yesterday "it's God, God, God all the way."

On Monday night (20 November) I broke the news to the team that we were going to have to cancel. On Tuesday evening (21 November) Mugabe resigned. One of my first messages was Christina Lamb from the Sunday Times. "Now you can climb the mountain" she said and she was right. The intervening days have been non-stop TV, radio and print media interviews along with all the social media posts. But we are now on our way.

We go to Johannesburg; Sao Paulo in Brazil and then Santiago in Chile. None of us have ever been to South America. After 3 hours sleep last night and not much sleep at all in the last two weeks, we will have a chance to catch up on the plane before going straight to the first acclimatisation mountain, Cerro el Plomo......

Our Mount Aconcagua climbing team from the left:

Ben Freeth, James Egremont-Lee, Josh and Stephen Freeth, Tristan Egremont-Lee

For further information on our progress, and to see some of our great photos:

If anyone would like to contribute to our fundraiser, please click on the following link:

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The Mike Campbell Foundation seeks justice for victims of torture and abuse in Zimbabwe; Works towards the restoration of the rule of law; Assists those forced to live in extreme poverty with survival skills; Brings hope where there is only despair.

Please give generously so that we can help as many struggling and destitute Zimbabweans as possible

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