Civil engineering director and keen mountaineer Osian ab Ifan has scaled new heights after reaching the summit of Africa’s tallest mountain, Kilimanjaro.
Osian, (pictured) finance director at Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK, realised a lifelong ambition by climbing Kilimanjaro – which at 19,341 feet is the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
The seasoned mountaineer, who regularly leads groups up the highest peaks in the UK including Snowdon, is now back at his desk at the Ruthin-based firm after his ten-day expedition and is delighted with his impressive achievement.
“It was really thrilling and feels amazing to have achieved it,” said Osian. “It is something I really wanted to do before my 60th birthday, which is fast approaching and I’m really glad I made it.”
“At over five and a half times higher than Snowdon, it is a formidable challenge and the extremes of temperature took some getting used to as it was very hot at the foot of the mountain but got colder and colder the higher we went.”
Osian, from Gresford, developed a passion for mountaineering aged just seven when his dad took him on his first trek up Moel Hebog in Snowdonia.
He has since climbed many peaks including all 443 mountains in England and Wales, many in Scotland and the Hebrides and several mountains in France and Switzerland.
He undertook his African expedition as part of a team of 12. The intrepid group acclimatised themselves by climbing nearby peaks for several days beforehand to help prevent altitude sickness.
“I was lucky and didn’t suffer greatly from altitude sickness on the main trek. It can be extremely unpleasant causing severe headaches, nausea and it slows you down considerably,” said Osian, who reached the summit of at 8:30am. He and his fellow climbers had set off on the last leg from their base camp at 1 o’clock on the final morning, climbing the more challenging Western Breach route for many hours in the darkness, using head lamps to light their way. He said it was particularly exhilarating to see the sun rise above the African plains.
Osian is no stranger to tough challenges, recently raising more than £3,000 for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity following a 100-mile cycle with his two sons, Rhys and Dafydd.
He chose this particular charity after losing his father and a close family friend to bowel cancer.
Huw Jones, managing director of Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK, said: “It is an incredible achievement and we are extremely proud of Osian.”
Founded in the 1950s, Jones Bros has grown rapidly in the last decade. It is currently working on contracts in various sectors including the construction of waste management facilities, highways, flood and marine defence and renewable energy projects around the UK.