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Mountain trooper - Climbing to beat cancer

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Hi everyone, I'm Ashley, TK 3440 of the UK Garrison. 

I've been a member of the 501st for 7 years now and loved every minute of it.

Anyway over the last few years i have been climbing a few mountains for charity.

So far i have raised just under £3000 pounds for cancer research uk and the Lingen Davies cancer centre, which is the local unit.

The reason for this is simple, two year ago my mum felt a lump in her breast and after a few test it was revealed to be cancer.

Thankfully they caught it early and were able to quickly operate and remove the cancer from her breast. She had to go through some radiotherapy treatment but my mum is a trooper to the core and nothing slows her down.

This was a shocking and to be honest emotional time for me. My work with the 501st suddenly took on a whole new meaning. I wanted to do something to help and although my emotional support was needed i wanted to help both the charity that was supporting her at my local hospital and the greater fight.

My stormtrooper armour is a set of AM armour, i got it from the very first run they did. In fact i was the very first trooper to clear that armour in my garrison back in 2010. Or at least i think i am.

To be honest the armour isn't the best but it is built like a tank. It's cleared but nowadays is only used for funerals and that odd troops that only want TK's.

So i came up with a challenge that i though would get a lot of interest and hopefully raise some funds.

The UK is made up of four countries England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This will be important later.

There is a challenge in the UK called the Three peaks challenge where you must climb the three tallest mountains in the UK within 24 hours. I decided that although i might not be able to climb them in 24 hours i was going to climb all three while dressed in my trusty set of AM stormtrooper armour and hopefully raise some funds. The only thing i really on had to change for the climb was my boots and a slight bit of trimming on the back of the shins and calfs.

I got clearance from my garrison to do this while wearing the UKG brand proudly on my shoulder and set about my challenge.


The first mountain was Snowdon 3550ft, the tallest mountain in Wales.

For this mountain we went straight from the hospital where my mum was having radiotherapy treatments. She can't be stopped when it comes to mountains, thankfully this was the easiest of the three.

This mountain is one of the more well known and the path is excellent, there is actually a railway that runs up to the top. I had quite a lot of fun waving at the train as it went past.

Over all it wasn't a bad climb and i enjoyed it and the reaction i got from the people i met on the way up.

The highlight of the climb was a RAF seaking helicopter which i spotted earlier coming round to have a look at me and wave as it flew over. I got in touch with the crew afterwards and am delighted to know that it made there day.


The second mountain was Ben Nevis 4405ft, the tallest mountain in Scotland.

Sadly my mum couldn't make this climb as it clashed with her radiotherapy treatments. She would of done it but there was no way of her being able to have the treatment and get up to Scotland.

Ben Nevis was a tough climb and really tested me to my limit.

It was one hell of a climb with each part testing me in a new and unique way. The first part was simple enough but then came the stairs and i could simply not bend my legs enough to climb them and the ones i could were a struggle. the second part was more a respite as i zigzagged myself up into the cuds and the snow felids that awaited me. This climb was done at the end of June and the whole top of the mountain was covered in snow. The whole last part was done with me forcing my way through feet deep snow. i sort of wished at this point that i had done a snowy but i pushed on till i reached the summit. Then i had to go through the whole thing again on the way down.

The highlight was at the moment in the snowfield when the cloud shifted and the sun came through. My spotter grabbed his camera and quickly took a picture of me charging through the snow. It will forever be my Christmas card photo.


The third and last of the three peaks was Scafell Pike 3505ft, the tallest mountain in England.

My mum rejoined us for this one. It was done the next year and although by this time my mum had been given the all clear my aunt had sadly been diagnosed with breast cancer as well. Sadly although it was treated  and the cancer removed she had to go through chemotherapy and then radiotherapy to make sure it was completely gone. This wiped her out utterly and my Mum had to go down to Cornwall to help her through it. A year on and touch wood they are both cancer free.

Scafell pike was not as hard as Ben Nevis but the stream was rather interesting to cross and yet again cloud cover at the top made the view impossible. It was hard in parts but overall a enjoyable mountain.

The highlight for this one was the twofold. First off i climbed this mountain on May the 4th so i could take heart from that. Secondly there was a pub at the bottom. I didn't care how much the armour bit i was going to have a pint at that pub. So upon reaching the bottom i headed to the pub, worn out and now missing my TD which had fallen off on the climb. Unknown to me the pub was hosting a wedding that was Star Wars themed. I came in like a gift from god to the bride and groom. Photos were taken and a pint gratefully given to me my a very happy couple.


Pictures below of my climbs.


This year i am aiming to climb the tallest mountain in Ireland.

Carrauntoohil. As with all of them it is going to offer some unique challenges and i look forward to battling my way to the top.


I'm raising funds for my local cancer trust the Lingen Davies Cancer Relief fund



Thanks for the support.






Ben Nevis




Scafell Pike


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Great work and best wishes for the next climb

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Truly inspiring, Ashley... and I am sure you have made the UKG proud!!  :jc_doublethumbup:

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The mountain has been climbed

Now for the detailed report of today's action:
On the 8th of May i spent the best part of the day inside a car as we traveled from my home in the midlands over to Ireland on the ferry. We set up are base of operations in a apartment just off the Killarny high street and planned are routes and got a sense of what the best day would be to go up. Everything depended on the weather.
We had a window of two day in which to climb the mountain and thankfully the forecast was good and so the 9th was chosen as the day.
The 9th started off as it now ends with perfect weather.
Early start and a quick check to make sure everything is good and then we are off to the mountain. It's about a half hour drive from the town.
I get kitted up out of the boot of the car, raise the legion standard and with my two spotters in tow we head off down the path. This came as quite a shock to the climbers we passed and the donkeys in a field.
The first part is a nice well maintained path. Two bridges ford streams so we make great time as the mountain looms in the background.
I know from my research that the first part is the easiest but i also know whats coming up, i'm not looking forward to it, The Devils Ladder. There are a few routes that we could of taken to get to the top. Generally we always pick the easiest routes for me to go up the mountains, my limited visibility and movement make some of the other routes impossible, as was the case with this one.
Going in i know full well that this could be the end of the climb. I might not be able to climb up the rocks and get up it. The ladder is a climb in the very real sense of you have to climb it. No path, no steps just a bunch of rocks some of which are not stable and will fall.
I'll be honest this was not easy and if i didn't have my flag pole i don't know what i would of done. I zig zagged my way up the mountain, hauling myself up the uneven rocks and being guided on the best routes by my spotters and in one case being shoved up a bit that i was having trouble with.
I'm a experienced climber of mountains, i've done my stare of munros and this tested me to my limit. By the time i get to the top i am just glad it is over. But i'm sure in the knowledge that going down is going to be just as tough as going down.
The third part is more of what i would call a traditional mountain with a path leading to the top. My presence on the mountain has spread by word of mouth and climbers coming down know i'm coming. Irish to the last they bid me "May the force be with you" it's nice to hear and spurs me on the final few feet to the summit.
Carrauntoohil has a cross at it's summit and so i could not do the normal flag raising that i normally do. A small video was taken of my final moments before i completed my journey and touched the cross. Job done, time for lunch, well after i've done my duty as UKG stormtrooper. Plenty of people want there picture taken with me, just so they can prove what they saw was real. 
The decent is fine until the Devils Ladder. It's hell going down. I fell. 
They say stormtrooper armour isn't good for anything. After today i know that is false. 
The Devils Ladder is made up of four sections. The first section at the bottom is mostly larger boulders and fairly firm footing. The second is the break where it is fairly easy going. The third is large bounders and plenty of loose stones that can come crashing down without warning or from other climbers. The forth is at the top just where you start to gain hope that it is all over. It's mostly dried mud and the occasional stone. The footing is terrible and i would hate to go up here when it is wet.
I fell at the forth section as we where going down. There was little to no rocks and i went down on butt and slid down the ladder for a few feet before i jammed by flag pole into the side of the mountain to stop my decent. If i wasn't wearing the armour i would have done myself a injury. As it happens i cracked my butt plate and lost one of the fasteners on my flag pole. I also have some new and interesting scratches on my leg armour but i was fine. The armour saved me.
After that i needed a minute to check everything was ok. My TD had fallen off but was recovered. Dusting myself off i carried on down, down was worse that going up. As we cleared the third section my flag pole already damaged by the fall gave up the ghost and broke in half. Easy fix when i get home but had to borrow one of my spotters poles to complete the decent through the ladder. 
I can't tell you how glad i was to be down.
We found a little pool just down from the ladder, i fell in. Well my foot did at any rate.
After that it was easy going all the way back to the car. No trouble and a donkey to stroke at the end, he wasn't bothered that i was a stormtrooper.
And that was the day that was. 
I now have armour bites in new and interesting places and generally ache all over. But today i am proud. I've done my duty and couldn't be prouder to be a member of my garrison.
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*Looks at shoes* I like the new approved foot wear ;).  Seriously though, this is inspirational!  Good job!  I'm really digging that flag... must... add... to... my... flag... collection (I collect flags from wherever I go in the world)!!!!

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