Ukrainian Teens Сonquer Mont Blanc
An initiative called "A World Without Orphans" has been launched by a group of 12 Mariupol residents. The group, which includes 6 children, climbed Europe's highest peak — Mont Blanc
“It’s really cold, I really want to drink something hot, to be honest. But it’s a very beautiful place. It was well worth it,” 14-year-old Danylo says, standing on the top of the ice peak.
He still struggles to believe that he has conquered the 5-kilometer peak. Mont Blanc is his very first ascent. The teenager says he dreamed about mountain climbing but did not realize that it would be so difficult.
“Once we got to the summit all I wanted to do is to drop on the ground and have some sleep. After we got down we slept for 15 hours on the train,” and expedition member Danylo Kucheruk said.
“Everyone caught their breath? We’ll make a stop at this spot on the way down to take a breather again. But now, we continue on towards the summit,” an expedition participant says on the video.
Back home in Mariupol, all the talk is about Mont Blanc. The Alpine peak proved a hard test for this tight team.
“All climbers there have to pass through the so-called ‘corridor of death.’ He bears that name for a reason. In there, rocks roll down the mountain and at night it’s easy to miss one and it will just take you out. But we kept together. It was a tight-knit team, we never had a fight. Everyone was helpful,” an expedition member Mykola Rykov said.
Mykola is one of 33 adopted sons of Hennadiy Mokhnenko. He became part of the family nine years ago at a very difficult time in the boy’s life when both his parents died. Mykola ended up on the streets. He hopes that his story will help parents make the decision to adopt.
“Before this, we had a bike tour, and now we climbed a mountain. And the goal is to make the slogan “The World Without Orphans” more interesting,” Rykov said.
6 children and 6 adults. Each with two backpacks. And one of those backpacks was reserved for souvenirs.
“These are stones straight from Mont Blanc. I brought some especially for you,” Rykov said.
For some of these boys, the Alpine peak was not the first ascent of this kind. They’ve done the Everest, Ararat, Hoverla, Rainier, and Kilimanjaro. But even for them, the 5-kilometer peak was a tall order.
“For the first time in history, former homeless kids, children who grew up in basements, infrastructure tunnels, and attics, stood on top of Western Europe with the flag of Ukraine, and the banner of Mariupol,” Head of the Pilgrim Rehab Centre Hennadii Mokhnenko said.
Today, climbers are already mulling over their next ascent. They are going back to the Carpathians to conquer Hoverla for the second time. The expedition is planned for this winter.