Youngest Person With Disability Climbs Victoria Peak in Belize

Apr 05, 2011
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Have you ever scaled a mountain to reach the peak? Certainly not everyone has, but it’s good for body, heart, mind and soul to accomplish such big goals. The mountains pictured to the left are part of Cockscomb Mountains in Belize. Victoria Peak in Belize has a height of 3,675 feet. Climbing it is no easy challenge for anyone, but a 12-year-old boy didn’t let his vision impairment get in the way of reaching the top.

Belize Audubon Society says of Victoria Peak, “Summiting Victoria Peak is the height of adventure in Belize. Rising abruptly from the lowlands, the jagged Cockscomb Mountains are an impressive mass of rock that is visible from the coast. Victoria Peak is the highest mountain in the range at a height of 3,675 feet and the second highest elevation in Belize.”

12-year-old Rowan Garel not only took the challenge of climbing Victoria Peak, but successfully completed it. Climbing Ambassadors for Sight helped Rowan train for the climb. They wrote, “Twelve-year-old Rowan Garel is not only the youngest person to have ever climbed to the top of Victoria Peak, he is also the only person with any type of disability to have accomplished this feat. On Sunday morning at approximately 9:30, Rowan and his father Joe arrived back at the base of the mountain, exhausted to say the least! They were greeted by their family and friends for a welcome back picnic and returned to Belize City before nightfall.”

The Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI), a nonprofit group, makes sure kids receive training first before attempting a daring adventure like hiking up a mountain. But financial times being what they are, BCVI feared it would not be able to carry out its annual Summer Camp for blind and visually impaired children. Even though BCVIs struggled to raise funds, it was able to offer Rowan’s parents the chance to send him to the U.S. for a few weeks to attend a summer camp. Although Rowan was excited at the idea, his heartfelt response was, “What about the other kids?“ At this point, Rowan and his family helped to raise the funds needed for other blind or visually impaired kids also.

Rowan had to start training for the climb in January 2011. On March 24th, he and his father successfully scaled Victoria Peak. Way to go Rowan! Your success is heartwarming and inspiring!

Image Credit: Ambassadors for the Blind

Author: Tessa