Local police officer Joe Celecia hopes to become the first Gibraltarian to conquer Mount Everest, having successfully completed the 7,000 metre North Col summit.
The keen mountaineer has been rock climbing for over 25 years, progressively attempting more daring challenges as he goes.
His most recent climb saw him take on the sharp-edged pass carved by glaciers in the ridge connecting Mount Everest and Changtse in Tibet.
Mr Celecia explained to the Chronicle that a ‘Puja’ – a traditional Buddhist blessing ceremony – is conducted to bless the expedition and equipment ahead of the trek. The Gibraltar flag was blessed at the Puja altar ahead of Mr Celecia’s climb.
The 7,000 metre hike took Mr Celecia seven hours to complete as he explained he had to go at his own pace with the climb beginning badly with illness and injury.
Nonetheless he was delighted and his family ‘euphoric’ that he had achieved his mission.
Mr Celecia explained that he is able to carry out the specific training required for such a feat in Gibraltar utilising the Med Steps and the Charles V wall steps.
Climbing gear, however, has to be sourced from elsewhere including items such as a sleeping bag to cater for the -15 degree temperatures found in that region.
He has now set his sights on Earth’s highest mountain – something he will aim to tackle once he retires from the Royal Gibraltar Police.