Meet Team CP22 - Shaun Keeling

Published Friday, 25th March 2022

Carstensz Pyramid '22 - Meet the Team

Shaun Keeling is a former Royal Marines Commando with a passion for the outdoors and climbing mountains. 

Whilst serving on OP Herrick 7 in Afghanistan he suffered a serious back injury. The pain was so severe that he was unable to walk more than a few steps and there were days when he battled to even get out of bed. 

Negative thoughts impacted on his self-confidence and Shaun couldn't imagine ever being able to climb a mountain again.

Following a lengthy rehabilitation process Shaun was medically discharged from service. Feeling lost and confused after leaving the Corps, he struggled to adjust to civilian life. Having no real strategy Shaun found himself waiting for the weekend to come so he could go out with his mates and use alcohol as a way to cope with the difficult times.

Inevitably, this made him feel worse, physically and mentally, than before but the cycle continued.

Gradually, by setting himself small incremental challenges and pushing himself out of his comfort zone, Shaun started to recover. He started to develop a toolbox of tactics to deal with the difficult times. When life gets tough Shaun's wife Nadia, and two sons, Maximus and Rocky, are now his motivation to keep going: 

"They make me want to try harder, to show them they can achieve anything they want, if they just believe and apply themselves. I want them to be proud of me and to know I’m always there for them.... 

With Carstensz Pyramid being so remote and technically difficult, it’s going to take all my skill and concentration to make it to the summit. The feeling of being so insignificant amongst these huge mountains is something you can never get used to. This challenge will give me the confidence I need to go and achieve other great things.

For others thinking about getting involved with a similar challenge I would say I’ve been where you are now! I’ve followed 65 Degrees North's expeditions and thought: 'no not me, I’d never get on that team, I’m not good enough', and all the other multitude of self-negative beliefs you can think about.......... But, now here I am, about to climb one of the Seven Summits!!"

Please join us in wishing Shaun every success with this epic adventure to the top of Carstensz Pyramid, the highest mountain in Indonesia and Australasia.

If you wish to make a donation to help support future projects please visit our JustGiving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/65degn

Special thanks to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust for funding this project.

Shaun Keeling

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