Derek Scales World’s Seven Highest Summits in Support of GROW
An Irish adventurer, financial advisor and GROW mental health ambassador will depart Ireland on July 27th to continue ‘dreaming, believing and achieving’ his goal of scaling the world’s seven highest summits and becoming one of an elite group of climbers worldwide.
55-year-old Derek Mahon from the Naul inCo. Dublin had never attempted climbing a mountain six years ago. On May 24th, 2014, Derek summited Mount Everest. On July 27th, the father-of-three will depart for Mount Kilimanjaro – one of the mountains within the seven summits.
Derek is undertaking the challenge in support of the community-based mental health charity, GROW, which promotes positive mental health and recovery. GROW holds over 120 free peer-support meetings across Ireland each week, along with community education, workplace, carer and young adultprogrammes.
Situated in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is 200 miles and threedegrees south of the Equator, and is Africa’s highest mountain, standing at 5,895 metres or 19,341 feet.
The first person to scale the summit was German Hans Meyer in 1889. To date, the summit success rate is 60%, with the climb covering a range of climates and terrain including rainforest, heath zone, moorland, alpine desert and glaciers.
Derek, who has been involved with financial markets for over 20 years and currently works as a Financial Advisor at Tara Financial Partners in Co. Meath, is a sports enthusiast.
In 2011, he had never climbed a mountain. Less than three years later, he succeeded in overcoming the brutally demanding ascent of Everest, culminating in his successful summit to the ‘Top of The World’, a height of some 8,848 metres or 29,028 feet.
His 2014 climb tragically coincided with the worst accident in the history of Everest mountaineering when 16 Sherpas were killed following an avalanche on the south side of the world’s highest peak.
Speaking about his motivation to take on the dangers and challenges of the world’s highest summits, Derek says he is a firm believer in ‘dreaming, believing and achieving’. He is a true advocate of the importance of never giving up and maintaining a positive mental attitude, despite setbacks and obstacles.
“Any success, I truly believe, is split between being 80% mental and 20% physical. If you believe mentally you can do it, your ability and physicality will add the missing percentage to achieving that goal. I believed 100% I could climb and summit Mount Everest. I never doubted myself. I researched the climb. I spoke to many other climbers. I read books. I viewed You Tube videos. I mentally prepared myself for the challenges, the isolation beyond the rescue of Tibet, missing my wife and family, having to make an effort each and every day to acclimatise, to eat as much as I could.
“I was mentally prepared, believing I could cope with whatever was thrown at me, even before leaving Ireland. Physically, I was in the shape of my life. I had one shot at this wonderful mountain and I was giving myself the best chance I could. The combination of the two – mental and physical – left me in no doubt I could achieve my goal – climb, summit, and return home alive! There were no doubts,” he says.
“People accuse me of being in a middle aged crisis – at 55. This is not the case. I am positive, ambitious and driven. Too many people do not encourage, do not help or support others achieve their dreams and goals. Surround yourself with like-minded people – achievers, encouragers, helpers – and the world’s wonders and your dreams will become realities,” he adds.
Speaking about climbing in support of GROW and positive mental health, Derek highlights how GROW implements a 12-step programme, helping people to journey step-by-step to mental health recovery.
“GROW is all about breaking isolation, fostering social connection, shared experience and weekly support meetings based on practical steps and recovery. Mental health, wellbeing and ongoing support are vital to us all. I am very proud to be promoting GROW and GROW’s message of positive mental health and recovery,” he says.
Chief Executive of GROW, Michele Kerrigan, says:
“The challenges which lie ahead for Derek during this arduous climb are similar in many respects to the challenges faced by people who struggle on a daily basis with their mental wellbeing. GROW’s Recovery Programme prepares people to take small, but very significant and practical steps towards achieving their ultimate goal of personal recovery. For many, recovery from mental health difficulties begins with a single step. At GROW, ongoing peer support, shared experiences and personal testimonies provide inspiration in helping others journey towards recovery.
“We are delighted that Derek has chosen to be an ambassador for GROW and to help us in promoting our message of positive mental health, recovery and wellbeing. We extend every good wish to Derek as he embarks on his latest mountaineering adventure.”