First Australian to complete the Peak and Pond Challenge

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First Australian to complete the Peak and Pond Challenge

Jason Snell, before the English Channel Swim.

Jason Snell, before the English Channel Swim.


Jason Snell, before the English Channel Swim.



Jason Snell, before the English Channel Swim.

Lisa Simcock, ECU Reporter

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Mullaloo Surf Life Saver Jason Snell has become the first Australian and the eighth person in the world to complete the Peak and Pond challenge; which involves climbing Mt Everest and swimming across the English Channel.

Mr Snell traded the sand for snow last year to conquer the Earth’s highest mountain, and he was in one of the first groups to climb Everest after the 2014 climbing season was cancelled due to an avalanche and the area had an earthquake in 2015. He describes the experience as “surreal.”

While climbing the 8,848m mountain, Mr Snell said he went through a “range of emotions.”

He developed tactics to help him through the climb, “I had mantras, if I felt bad it was sort of like a Dory ‘just keep swimming’ moment, I told myself to just keep swimming and just keep going, you will get there.”

Climbing Mt Everest was “definitely not glamorous,” yet giving up was never on his mind.

“I felt as if I was tired enough to give up but I was never at a point where I was going to turn around.”

However, on a few occasions, he was almost forced to give up due to extraordinary circumstances.

The first time was when he got food poisoning at a tea house, he said he felt so ashamed at the thought of quitting the trek due to it.

Fortunately, the day Mr Snell and his team were supposed to begin the trek was postponed as the “Sherpas deemed it to be unlucky and they didn’t want to go.”

Commencing the trek the following day allowed for Mr Snell an extra day of recovery from the food poisoning.

Mt Everest Base Camp. Source: Facebook

Another moment that almost cost him the trek, and his life, occurred while on the climb passing through the South Col.

Mr Snell told his team mates that he wasn’t feeling great and was going to turn around. His team mate, Kevin Farebrother, encouraged him to continue and pointed at the summit and said, “look the summit is just there.”

“As I turned he could see that my oxygen had come out of my mask. He plugged me in and it felt like coming up after you have held your breath under water for a long time. All of a sudden I had a rush of oxygen and I felt full of energy.”

He did not know how long the oxygen had been out of his mask for and there could have been a chance that nobody saw it.

In describing what it felt like to reach the summit Mr Snell said: “[It’s] like climbing a tree, easy going up then all of a sudden you turn around and think how did I get up here and that pretty much was what it was like.”

He said that he didn’t truly feel the “Wahoo feeling” until he arrived back in Perth due to the exhaustion he felt during and after the climb.

Following the Mt Everest climb, Mr Snell then proceeded to swim the English Channel, which he completed in 16 hours and 30 minutes.

He said it was hard to pick which one was more challenging as they were both so different. “I found the solitude of swim training very difficult. 2-4 hrs a day, longer on the weekend, locked in your own head space. For others, the ladders in the ice fall would be a deal breaker,” he said.

Everest didn’t help Mr Snell physically with his swim across the English Channel, but it did mentally: “Over the previous six years, my experiences in the Himalayas have taught me to tolerate discomfort and endure miserable situations for extending periods of time.

“This acquired mental strength definitely helped me through my 16 hours 30 minute crossing” he said.

Mr Snell took up swimming as a form of recovery, recommended by his surgeon, following major back surgery.

Mr Snell said his surgeon was shocked to see what he had achieved, “He couldn’t believe it when I presented him with my solo crossings jersey given for the Rottnest Channel Swim. I had a shoulder operation shortly after and vowed never to swim long distance again. That changed when I returned from Everest.”

Now Mr Snell is directing his focus on a charity he founded, called Moving Mountains for Mitch.

Mitch Cleary was involved in a coward punch incident outside a Northbridge night club in 2013. He was left unable to communicate and care for himself.

MMFM was created to bring awareness to how a coward punch can affect an innocent life in such a drastic way.

Mr Cleary and Mr Snell met through the Mullaloo Surf Lifesaving Club. Through MMFM, Mr Snell hopes to raise funds for his friend to help on his journey to recovery and to build him a home.

Mitch Cleary and Jason Snell.

Mr Snell said the Moving Mountains for Mitch is going really well, “we’ve had two gala nights, a quiz night last Saturday and ongoing donations and offers of help to get Mitch a home.”

His next extreme challenge is the Marathon Des Sables  in 2019, which involves a 251 km run through the Sahara. He also plans on creating his own challenge, The Water, Fire and Ice, which is the English Channel, Marathon Des Sables and Mt Everest.




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About the Writer
Lisa Simcock, ECU Reporter

Lisa is a young journalist who has been around the globe due to her love of traveling. She is interested in the outdoors and the environment. Lisa is studying...

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First Australian to complete the Peak and Pond Challenge