Volcano scaled for good cause

Andrew Pearce sits at the crater rim of the Virunga mountain range EMN-161027-155932001
Andrew Pearce sits at the crater rim of the Virunga mountain range EMN-161027-155932001

An adventurous Fulbeck fundraiser has completed his latest daring charity drive – by climbing an active volcano.

Previous adventures undertaken by Andrew Pearce include trips to the North and South Poles, and scaling one of the highest mountains in the Arctic.

A gorilla encountered on the trek. EMN-160111-113745001

A gorilla encountered on the trek. EMN-160111-113745001

This year, Andrew stepped up the danger by travelling thousands of miles on an expedition which would see him complete the first commercial ascent of four of the biggest, most remote volcanoes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance Charitable Trust.

Andrew said: “I have been fortunate enough to have 10 trips to Africa, but I have never visited Congo.

“I love going to remote places and taking part in unusual challenges.”

The DRC has been embroiled in conflict for the last 10 years, and has seven active rebel groups in operation, but the group remained undeterred.

Mt Nyiragongo EMN-160311-141547001

Mt Nyiragongo EMN-160311-141547001

The first stop on the expedition was climbing Nyiragongo – an active volcano reaching 3,470 metres at its summit.

Andrew said: “It erupts quite frequently, and has one of the largest open lava lakes in the world.”

The group trek then led them past a band of endangered mountain gorillas, which Andrew described as ‘amazing animals’.

“It was fantastic to see them at such close quarters,” he added.

AndrewPearce on teh rim of a volcano. EMN-160311-141706001

AndrewPearce on teh rim of a volcano. EMN-160311-141706001

There are now fewer than 1,000 mountain gorillas in Africa. Over the last few years, 153 park rangers have been shot and killed by poachers and rebel groups.

Andrew was joined on his expedition through Virunga Park by rangers, who protect endangered gorillas.

He said: “It was a privilege to travel with them. Rangers are the difference between gorillas being here and not.”

The next part of the expedition led them to the Rwenzori Mountains. To finish, the group climbed up to the last glaciers on the continent, at 5,000m in height.

Looking down into the volcano. EMN-160311-141804001

Looking down into the volcano. EMN-160311-141804001

Andrew raised more than £2,000 for the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance, and a further sum for The Fallen Rangers Fund, which supports widows and families of rangers killed while on duty.

About the trip, Andrew said: “The main purpose of me taking up this challenge was to see the volcanoes and to fundraise.

“I’m very grateful for all the support I received and am very glad the trip continues to raise money to help keep our invaluable ambucopter in the sky.”

Andrew has been a trustee for the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance Charitable Trust for the last 10 years.

Looking down on the crater. EMN-160311-141857001

Looking down on the crater. EMN-160311-141857001