22 September 2011

Climbers say No fracking way!

South African mountain guides and their four-year-old climb Mount Snowdon to highlight dangers of fracking.


Well known South African Mountain Guides, Rachel and Jeremy Colenso, guided their four-year-old daughter Rosemary and British actress Louise Bush up famous Mount Snowdon in Wales this month, to highlight the dangers of fracking.

Rosemary Colenso, 4, Mount Snowdon. Her favourite parts of the ascent were "scrambling
up the waterfall rock sections in the rain, and pretending to be a train near the summit".

Fracking is said to be linked to a number of negative impacts, from minor earthquakes to contamination of drinking water and ruination of nature areas. Methane is extracted using a potent mix of carcinogenic chemicals and millions of litres of water blasted into the shale beds.

The team also raised funds for the Eilidh Brown Trust, a charity which supports families with a terminally ill child, after an acting colleague of Louise Bush lost their daughter to cancer at age 15. The team hoped that their efforts in climbing the highest mountain in England and Wales will see them reach a wide international audience and achieve their goal of raising £1000 (R11000) for the trust.

Jeremy and Rachel's daughter Rosemary (4) also joined the climbing team. In 2008 Rachel raised over R100 000 in support and donations for The Door of Hope children's charity by carrying her daughter over all the mountain peaks from Cape Point to Table Mountain.

Rachel met Louise after she acted as "her" in a drama documentary reconstruction of Jeremy and Rachel's epic survival story in 2003, when the climbers were trapped in a snowstorm on a ledge at 3000m in the Swiss Alps. At the time, the story made international headlines. Their ordeal resulted in a book, In a High and Desperate Place, and television drama which has been screened in the USA on Animal Planet, and is due to be broadcast in the UK, Europe and South Africa later this year.

Snowdon is considered to be a sacred mountain and the resting place of King Arthur. Rachel chose this new challenge because she says, "Snowdon is a world renowned mountain and place of natural beauty, and as Snowdonia was previously heavily mined and has long-lasting visible scars to show for it, it was an appropriate choice. Thankfully the mining was halted and great expense has been pumped into the area to market it as a tourist destination and help regenerate the surrounding landscape.

"It is important to learn from lessons abroad, and similarly preserve our natural areas in South Africa. Now that the Drakensberg is being considered for fracking I feel the awareness raised by mountain guides and other people interacting in this area of the tourist industry is vital to put a stop to unsustainable forms of development."

Recently the UK placed a temporary ban on fracking after it was suspected that two minor earthquakes were as a direct result of the process. Other European countries have also banned the practice. It continues in many parts of the world however, with an increase in pressure by large gas and oil companies on developing countries to sell the rights to mine in this way.

Adapted from a press release issued on behalf of Rachel Colenso by Naomi Uys.
- Health24, September 2011

Read more:
Rachel Colenso on Bouldering and Abseiling


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