Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service Firefighter to Climb Mount Everest in Full Firefighting Kit

Reaching the summit of Mount Everest – the highest mountain on Earth - is no mean feat and isn’t a challenge taken on by many people. 

Not only is Rhys Fitzgerald, a Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) On-Call Firefighter at Kidwelly Fire Station, taking on the daunting task, he’s also aiming to become the first person to do so in full firefighting kit.

As part of his training to climb the 8,848m to the summit of Mount Everest in 2025, Rhys has set himself a series of events and goals to achieve.  As well as visiting the Altitude Centre in London to acclimatise himself, he will be taking part in 10 y Fan, the Welsh Three Peaks (Yr Wyddfa, Cadair Idris and Pen y Fan) and the Three Peaks Challenge (Yr Wyddfa, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis - the highest mountain in the British Isles) - all in full firefighting kit.

Rhys is also self-funding another climb on Ama Dablam, a 6,182m high mountain in the Koshi Province of Nepal, in October 2024 to prepare himself for the final climb of his fundraising efforts.  He is taking on this challenge to help promote the benefits that spending time in the outdoors can have on your mental and physical health and well-being, as well as raising funds and awareness of three worthy causes.  Rhys has chosen the following charities to support:

  • The Fire Fighters Charity – a charity that provides lifelong support to serving and retired firefighters and their families.
  • Mind – which provides information, support and campaigns for people with mental health problems.
  • The Nimsdai Foundation – which works to clear rubbish left on mountains in the Himalayas from previous expeditions as well as supporting the ‘unsung heroes of the mountains, the Everest Base Camp Trail’s Porters.

Rhys will also achieve two world records as part of his expeditions by becoming the first person to climb Ama Dablam and Mount Everest in full firefighting kit.

Speaking on his challenge, Rhys says:

“Being outdoors has helped me massively over the years with my own mental health and I want to share those experiences with others and help people through their own challenges.”

I have chosen my nominated charities as they all do fantastic work in providing support to people when it’s most needed and having been a Firefighter for several years, I know how important it is to speak out to your colleagues, friends and family.

I’ve found that escaping into the fresh air and exploring the outdoors really helps me and my hobby has now led me to pushing myself physically and mentally to spread awareness on mental health.”

Rhys is currently fundraising through a GoFundMe page, all donations will be split between covering the cost of the expedition as well as being donated to his chosen charities.

Any companies or organisations interested in sponsoring the expedition can contact Rhys directly on r.fitzgerald@mawwfire.gov.uk.