The VS Challenge

Way back in 2007, I came up with a crazy idea, which was to climb all the very severe (VS) rock climbing routes in South Wales. This worked out at 855 routes.

With two climbers on every route and sometimes support climbers as well, we hoped to climb 100,000mtr of rock.

As part of this we blogged about it, did live TV, produced a vlog for ITV online plus many other PR stuff. It was a phenomenal challenge, one that pushed me in many ways. I was accompanied by Ian Blessley. In fairness Ian was amazing and did the majority of the lead climbing at the time. I can’t remember how much we raised for the charities, but it was all through justgiving so they got everything that was raised.

An overview of the entire project as written by Mark Tozer on the 31st October 2007 is here;

Mountaineers, Mark S Lewis and Ian Blessley started their daunting 855 rock faces climbing challenge at 10.00am on Monday 3rd September at Morlais Quarry in Merthyr Tydfil and in the last 8 days have climbed over a 1500mtrs, done live interviews with BBC and had several articles in the newspapers. The pair, both experienced mountaineers, are taking on the VS challenge; climbing 855 rock faces, that’s 100,000mts of rock faces, by two climbers in a bid to raise £100,000 for Tenovus, Wales’ Cancer Charity and the WISCM Trust.

Mark, who runs his own Mountaineering company and is sponsored by Zero G Climbing, explains more about their amazing challenge … “We are about to take on one of the most extreme mountain challenges ever attempted in the UK and will be rock climbing full-time for about six months, weather dependent, until we have completed the 855 rock faces challenge.”

The intrepid pair will be climbing throughout South and West Wales; on Gower, in the Bridgend area, on Inland Limestone and Sandstone rock faces. Mark and Ian are inviting people to join them in their quest along the way, “Each climb is weather dependent, so we will be choosing our daily location dependent on weather forecasts. Each week we hope to complete 6 climbs per day for 5 days in a row.

Mark concluded, “I have climbed on Mount Everest a few times but this rock face challenge is going to be every bit as grueling, even without the snow!”

Tenovus, Wales’ cancer charity is full of praise for Mark and Ian, Kylie Parfitt, National Project development officer for Tenovus said, “This fundraising challenge has high hopes of raising £50,000 for Tenovus to help us support cancer patients and their families at a time they need us most.”

Published by Diving & Mountaineering Instructor

I am a passionate adventurer, loving being in the mountains walking, climbing, scrambling as much as I love being under the water exploring shipwrecks, mines and caverns, or in search of treasure in the depths. I am a Mountain Instructor (MIA), a Winter Mountain Leader, a Scuba Diving Instructor (BSAC, TDI, SDI, IANTD), a skipper for CAT3 waters up to 25mtr and as I’ve built this experience over time, I have written about it and published those works. In addition I am a Chartered Manager with CILT, a member of the institute of Engineering & Technology, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. I help people fulfill their goals in the Mountains (Worldwide), Scuba Diving (Worldwide), provide location support worldwide for the media and assist with technical and safety support whenever requested. For a full picture of me please check out my linkedin profile -

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