Ipswich's deaf adventurer conquers Europe's mightiest peaks
AN IPSWICH climber, driven by his determination not to let disability act as a barrier, has reached new heights after conquering some of Europe's mightiest peaks.
Ricky Ellis, who is deaf, of Collingwood Park arrived in Europe in the middle of July and will land back on home soil soon.
The 39-year-old so far has ticked the highest mountains in Slovakia, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, France, Germany and Russia off his list in a little over a month.
He also plans to tackle the highest peaks in Iran and Switzerland before flying home.
"I've had good experiences seeing a large part of Europe and what the European Alps is like in real life," Mr Ellis said.
"(It's) much more advanced compared to Australia and New Zealand. The environment is quite different and it's given me more awareness to take care of the planet. Rubbish is still littered everywhere humans walk.
"Every mountain has given me the same feeling of achievement. The satisfaction for pushing your body to high places and facing a lot of challenges.
"There have been a few close calls. Rocks falling are very commonplace.
"(Mount) Elbrus (in Russia) we saw rocks falling a few metres in front of us on a snow slope."
Sever weather conditions met him almost every step of the way.
But some climbers found it easier than others.
While ascending Mount Elbrus in -15C conditions, a dog he spotted sniffing climbers apparently takes the same path up to the summit every day according to his guide.
He is on the continent to support American woman Miriam Richards, who has multiple sclerosis and is also deaf.
The 55-year-old's goal is to climb all of Europe's 48 high points, of which she had already done 31.
Unfortunately most of the mountains he climbed proved too difficult for Ms Richards to complete and she will carry on to eastern Europe without Mr Ellis by her side.
Once Mr Ellis climbs Mount Damavand, a potentially active volcano in Iran, he will have conquered three of the Volcanic Seven Summits, which are the highest volcanoes on each of the seven continents.
Later this year he plans to head to South American to climb Aconcagua and Ojos Del Salado.
He undertakes the expeditions using his own "pocket money" and without any sponsors.