When talking to Richard Parks you very quickly learn two things about him: that he is determined to push himself to the very limit in the name of adventure, and that he loves his home country, Wales. And these two passions have taken him around the world (quite literally) to do battle with some of the most extreme environments.
If you’re a rugby enthusiast, the chances are you’ve heard the name before. Richard made a name for himself representing Wales and The Barbarians but after a shoulder injury, was forced into retirement in 2009.
“When injury ended my rugby career, it was as if the bottom fell out of my world. It really was a difficult transition and I fell into a dark place”.
Having spent most of his life in high performance sport, it was time to dig out of the hole and embrace the spirit of adventure. Channelling energy into something positive was critical to moving on in life.
“I regularly say – mountains saved my life”.
Despite breaking multiple records on expeditions, to Richard, this isn’t what the trips are about, and he feels no pressure to continue that fashion.
“I have as much fun wild camping in the Beacons over a weekend as I do on a serious expedition. It’s wonderful how the outdoors peels back the layers of day-to-day life. I’m passionate about pushing the boundaries of human performance, but time in the mountains is restorative to me.”
It’s a question which many people are likely to have: how on earth do you prepare for expeditions which involve climbing the world’s highest mountains?