A MITFORD mountaineer could be facing his toughest challenge yet as he prepares to take on the highest peak in Europe at the age of 74.
Bent Henriksen has travelled the world over the last ten years, reaching the summit of some of the most formidable mountains.
The British Three Peak Challenge, Machu Picchu, Mont Blanc and Everest Base Camp have all been ticked off the list. And tomorrow (Friday) Mr Henriksen will set off for Mount Elbrus in Russia.
“I did Mont Blanc last year, which everyone thinks is the highest mountain in Europe at 4,800m, but this is quite a bit higher at 5,600m. The year before, I went to Everest Base Camp and that was 5,500m so this is a little bit higher than that. It should be interesting,” he said.
The sprightly 74-year-old, who originally hails from Denmark, but has lived in Mitford for over 30 years, puts his success partly down to the use of dietary supplements, particularly Q10, which is manufactured at his Pharma Nord business in Telford Court, Morpeth.
The business is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of preventative supplements and it was through one of its customers, experienced mountain guide Noel Hanna, who holds the world record for climbing seven of the world’s highest peaks, that Mr Henriksen was encouraged to attempt some of the mountains himself.
“It is important that you have a good guide,” he said.
“Mr Hanna has been our customer for the past ten years and he uses all of our products, that is how I started this. He is a very impressive person and you just feel comfortable and safe when walking with him.
“You have to keep yourself in form to do this and I’m lucky to work for a company that works in nutrition. You must get enough nutrition and the right sort. I take a lot of the products we do, particularly Q10, because it gives you energy and gets your heart working properly.
“You just don’t get all that you need in the food today so it is quite important to take good supplements.”
Mr Henriksen has been in training for his ten-day challenge, walking the four miles to work every other day and visiting the Lake District for climbs.
But he said the weather will be the key element in whether his attempt will be successful.
“I am used to climbing and the conditions, but you never know, you have to be lucky with the weather. It all will depend on the weather,” he said.
“If it turns against you, you are not going to go up. Right now it looks quite good so it seems a good time to go, but just two weeks ago we went to the Lake District and on some of the hills you couldn’t stand up if the wind was against you so we didn’t get to the top.
“The other problem is you have to walk slowly and there is not much oxygen. You do quite a few exercises at 2,000ft before you go up and you have to go so far and then come back a few times just to make sure, you have to double back on yourself a few times, you wouldn’t go straight up.”
He added: “It is a good feeling when you get to the top, but you also want to get back down again because you don’t know what might happen.”
Mr Henriksen will be among a party of eight attempting the climb, including his 36-year-old son Rasmus.
If all goes to plan, he hopes to climb a mountain in Mexico next year.