FORMER teacher Jordanna Farrimond is scaling fresh heights in pursuit of her new career…
The 29-year-old, who has no mountaineering experience, has returned from climbing Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe at 4,800m.
Battling altitude sickness and an injured knee, as well as the elements, Jordanna made it to the top – and is now planning to use the experience and her photos of the trip as part of new business, Artists in the Making.
The adventure started after Jordanna, who lives in Meersbrook, gave up her job at Hunters Bar Primary School to follow her dream of running photography and art sessions for children.
Then her dad, David, aged 62, suggested climbing Mont Blanc together, and she decided she was up for the challenge, despite the fact that neither of them had done any mountaineering before.
They began a rigorous programme of cycling, swimming and climbing. But the whole expedition hung in the balance when Jordanna injured her knee while training on Scafell Pike.
She decided to give it a go anyway and the two finally set out accompanied by Sheffield-based guide David Hollinger.
Their first stop was acclimatisation training in Italy, tackling 4,000m Gran Paradiso.
Jordanna quickly discovered what she had taken on: “The altitude made me feel really sick, sleep deprivation was a problem and I was a bit worried about my knee too. I realised Mont Blanc was going to be the hardest physical thing I’d ever done.”
They encountered more drama at the top of Gran Paradiso: “As we reached the pinnacle there was thunder and lightning simultaneously and our guide yelled at us to run… so we ran, and just kept running until we got low enough to be below the storm!”
Undaunted, they set out for Mont Blanc as planned and the first part of the climb went surprisingly smoothly. They arrived at the overnight stop, tired but determined, and struck out for the summit at 3am the following day.
“I was feeling sick and had a pounding headache and it was a really long trudge up the mountain in crampons,” she says.
“It took us about five hours to get to the summit but it felt brilliant to have finally made it. And it’s spectacular; really amazing.”
Jordanna is now back home, with a wealth of memories and dozens of photos.
And she plans to put them to good use, inspiring young artists at her classes in Sheffield.
Artists in the Making is launching weekly clubs at Dobcroft and Totley schools this month. It also runs a toddlers’ story and art club in Baslow and is planning a holiday club at St Andrew’s Hall, Nether Edge, during October half term.
“The theme will be to do with mountains and ambition and determination, so I’m going to use the images and tell the story to inspire the children.”