100 days, 100 Table Mountain climbs ... and counting
Wind, rain and fire can't stop Capetonian who ditched the corporate ladder to do some climbing for a cause
Fundraiser Andrew Patterson notched up a century on Tuesday in his attempt to climb Table Mountain 365 times in as many days.
It was Patterson’s 100th summit of the iconic mountain in Cape Town since he set out on his challenge on January 1 – and a complete change of pace since he was retrenched from his corporate job in June last year.
Not wanting to return to the corporate world, the Capetonian opted to help charitable causes instead.
It is in this pursuit that he has had to overcome wind, rain and fire as he battled the elements to reach the milestone – an unbroken sequence not recorded before.
He has climbed more than 682km, of which 71km have been vertical, the equivalent of 19 Mount Everests.
Patterson, 38, who took up the challenge to raise funds for non-profit organisations Habitat for Humanity, the Sunflower Foundation and One Life for Kids, said he was relieved to get to 100.
“It was exceptionally windy today. Probably one of the top-four windiest days we’ve had,” he said. “But I’m glad we could get up,” said Patterson, now nicknamed Mountain Drew (a play on his name and the fizzy drink).It has been touch and go at times and Patterson recalls nearly being blown off the mountain while climbing in treacherous weather conditions.
He takes different routes, mostly on the advice of experienced mountain guides and depending on the weather.
“Climb 26 was the toughest. The wind was exceptionally strong with gusts of up to 80km/h at the top. Walking up in wind like that is dangerous in the sense that once you stand tall after taking a step you can get blown off the mountain.”
After being retrenched from his corporate job in June last year Patterson decided to take up his passion of “giving back”.
He started an NPO called 365 Ubuntu and made the decision to do the year-long summit after driving past the mountain one day.
“I got tired of corporate culture and decided to turn my passion into a career.
“365 Ubuntu is about finding innovative ways to empower those who live with challenging circumstances.”
So far Patterson has raised R176,000 through crowdfunding platform Backabuddy. He hopes to get that up to R10-million by the end of the year.Habitat for Humanity spokesperson Lyndall McCarthy described Patterson’s achievement as “phenomenal”.
“We’re honoured he’s chosen us,” McCarthy said. “He’s showing his love in action and putting his money where his mouth is.”
They are hoping to use the funds that are raised to stabilise and do critical repairs to homes of vulnerable child-headed households in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape.
More than 180 people from nine different countries have done walks with Patterson and the team from Habitat for Humanity plan to do the climb with him on April 26, ahead of Freedom Day.
And, he said, only two things will keep him from trekking up the mountain: if his resting heart rate is above 80 beats per minute, or if he is advised that weather conditions are too dangerous.
Other than that, he will be the guy you see trekking up the mountain, every day, smiling.