By Jack Williams
This is the heartwarming moment a group of friends helped their disabled buddy achieve an incredible feat, carrying him right to the top of a MOUNTAIN.
Wheelchair-bound Jeff Carlson was supported by 11 friends over land and water, as he tacked the tricky inclined route, which measured some eight kilometers in total.
In the footage the group put together, it can be seen just how difficult the task facing Jeff, 32, was: His friends had to remove him from his wheelchair on numerous occasions, carrying him on a stretcher across some of the more treacherous parts of the route.
When he reached the top, however, the delight could be seen plastered on Jeff’s face, as he rolls back and forth in his chair, smiled and observed the stunning scenery below.
The challenge took place at the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, just outside Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada – a mountain that’s peak is 1,847 feet.
Damien Gilbert, 33, who captured the heartwarming experience for his friend – known as “Jazzy” – said there were a number of challenges that the group faced.
He said: “Some difficulties we faced was a very uneven ground and high elevation.
“Most of the hike was on a inclined and trying to keep Jeff level was difficult.
“The ground was very muddy and we were constantly slipping.”
Damien and Jeff met in college 10 years ago, and in the past, some of the crew have helped Jeff with other challenges – though none as tough as the Sleeping Giant climb, on October 5, 2017.
In 2015, for example, Damien and friends helped Jeff undertake a less enduring route up Mount McKay, in Ontario.
Damien said: “We had talked about doing The Sleeping Giant after, but it was more a joke due to the difficulty.”
After completing the challenge in around four hours total, Damien was quick to thank his crew.
The inspiring climb would not have been possible without the support of a sailing companion, he said, as this allowed the team to take Jeff over a nearby lake to a route that enabled him to tackle the mountain.
As well as this support, photographer Dave Zahodnik offered to carry Jeff’s wheelchair up the mountain, so that he had it by the time he reached the top.
Damien, from Thunder Bay, Ontario, said: “It was such a rewarding feeling making it to the top and seeing his reaction was priceless.
“He never would have gotten an opportunity to see this otherwise, so I am grateful that we were able to provide him with this experience.
“I really hope that this encourages others to do something for someone that doesn’t have the means of doing so.
“Just doing something for someone could go a long way.”