Over 50s Lifestyle

Midlife Matters – How I Climbed Ben Nevis at 68

August 8, 2016
How I climbed Ben Nevis at 68

Next in my Midlife Matters series, I would like to introduce you to my friend, Chris Hallett. Chris has just completed the challenge of climbing the highest mountain in Scotland – Ben Nevis at Sizzling 68 years young!

Chris is also our first Member of the Month in my #couchpotatotofabfit Facebook group and deservedly so.

chris hallett



When Chris is not climbing a mountain, she is a  woman who likes to keep busy by walking, gardening. Photography is her special hobby. She loves to read and listen to music.  Chris works as a Volunteer Art Tour Guide at Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery working with children, doing dementia guiding and the general guiding.  Her favourite colour is pink.

I wanted to share Chris’ story with you as she is a great inspiration and shows what determination and working towards a goal can achieve.

Chris writes….

“I would like to tell you a little of my absolute dream trip to Scotland. I have wanted to do this trip for a very long time and knew it would probably be the last big trip I would do, so I started my planning about eight months before I went.

I researched, made lists of everything I HAD to see, one for things I would LIKE to SEE see.

During this time I joined a charity project called My Peak Challenge, their aim was to improve fitness but mainly to raise money for Blood Cancer.

ben nevis

I chose my Peak Challenge to be climbing Ben Nevis, 4,410 feet, ten miles up and ten miles back, the highest mountain in the U.K. 

As I have never climbed a mountain in my life I knew I need to go into training.

Being 68 and having a hip replacement, knee replacement and plated and screwed foot all in the one leg, this limited what I could do for training.

I decided to be sensible and do what I knew I could do which was walk. I used a program on my phone called Map My Walk and off I went.

I managed to do 2 kilometres which for somebody who didn’t do fitness to me was amazing. Everyday I walked finally reaching 10 kilometres a day. I also did stairs through the bush in my area where I live and this was a real shock for me.

Whilst I could walk 10 kms without any trouble, on the stairs I could hardly breathe and certainly not without many stops. I just continued to practice, not enjoying the stairs but knew I would have to overcome this.

Finally I set off on my wonderful trip and it was everything I hoped it would be. I had planned to do the mountain climb 22 days into my trip and was so excited. I started at 10.00am in the morning and finally got off the mountain at 8.40 pm.

ben nevis 4

It was far harder than I had imagined, going uphill and I had difficulty breathing. If I’m honest, I would say I contemplated quitting quite a few times but on I went until I finally reached the top.

I think it was the most amazing thing I have done.

ben nevis 2


It took five hours to get to the top and then the trek down. My knees were not liking climbing down. It is actually harder than going up but you have to get off the mountain. I ended up with no skin on the bottom of my big toe at all but can finally say I did it.

Age is only a number, if you set your mind to something and you have the determination to do it, then anything is possible.”

chris hallett ben nevis

Let’s Keep Sizzling!





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  • Reply Toni Pike August 8, 2016 at 12:02

    That is incredible, Chris. You set yourself what sounds like an almost impossible challenge and, with great resolve, you achieved it! Congratulations – you are a great inspiration.

  • Reply Christine Hallett August 8, 2016 at 19:55

    Thank you Toni, I think I have a bit of life left in me yet and I intend to live it. 🙂

  • Reply Cathy Chester August 9, 2016 at 23:14

    What an amazing and inspiring story. It gives me hope to do more than I am, to try more things and to challenge myself in ways I never imagined.

    I’m curious what dementia guiding is.

    Thanks for this lovely post. You go, Chris!

    • Reply Christine Hallett August 11, 2016 at 00:02

      Hi Cathy, thank you for your kind words. As to the Dementia Guiding, being an Art Tour Guide we run a program called Art Engage, which runs twice weekly. We bring roughly about seven residents each from two different nursing homes and we take them into the gallery in two groups. The idea is not to tell them about the art but invoke a reaction. E.g. “Has anybody lived in a house like this or a house this color. with a landscape “Has anybody lived in the country? What do you like about this. I had a lady looking at a picture drawn of a building with an open door and a lady told me it frightened her because the children could get out. We are especially trained by Alzheimers Australia. After the gallery we do an hours art with them. It is a very rewarding program and running very sucessfully. Hope tha5 answers your question..

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2016 at 11:20

      Cathy, I love reading about inspiring women who get out there and give life a go! I believe Dementia guiding is to do with Chris taking dementia patients on tours of the gallery but I’m sure she will let you know.

  • Reply Carol Cassara August 10, 2016 at 00:35

    Ok. Now I am officially inspired. I don’t think I’d risk it with all those replacements!

    • Reply Christine Hallett August 11, 2016 at 00:05

      Nothing is impossible. Remember the saying “Use it or lose it”.
      Accomplishment no matter how little is better than nothing.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2016 at 11:21

      I know Carol I don’t have any replacements so really no excuse for me and I’m 10 years younger!

  • Reply Helene Cohen Bludman August 10, 2016 at 01:09

    I give Chris so much credit. That is a huge accomplishment and something to be very proud of. I get winded just going up a flight of steps!

    • Reply Christine Hallett August 11, 2016 at 00:06

      Neither could I, huff8ng and puffing away but e ety little bit further you go makes it easier and then it just not becomes easier but fun.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2016 at 11:22

      She is great Helene and really has given me something to think about!

  • Reply Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski August 10, 2016 at 01:47

    That’s quite an accomplishment especially with the challenges Chris was starting with (knee replacements, breathing etc.) Congratulations! She rocks!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2016 at 11:23

      Yes I didn’t realise Chris had so many challenges but she did and I’m so proud of her.

  • Reply Ruth August 10, 2016 at 06:21

    Doing something that pushes you beyond how you see yourself is an amazing feat. I love this story and the step by step approach to reaching a goal! Beautifully told story!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2016 at 11:24

      Thank you Ruth. Chris is pretty amazing and proves we can do anything we put our minds to.

  • Reply Cathy Lawdanski August 10, 2016 at 09:43

    Wow! I am so inspired. Crossfit is getting harder as I age and I feel like quitting sometimes. Chris is a wonderful example to us all. Love this series, Sue!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2016 at 11:24

      I know Cathy! Chris is amazing and now I’m trying to think of something to challenge myself with. Such an inspiration. I’m pleased you are enjoying the series, Cathy.

  • Reply Lois Alter Mark August 10, 2016 at 09:57

    THAT IS AMAZING! I can’t imagine making that climb at any age. Congrats on a very impressive accomplishment!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2016 at 11:25

      I agree Lois, I’m not sure I could do the climb. I’m so proud of Chris and her story is inspiring to me.

  • Reply Marilyn Murray August 16, 2016 at 11:03

    I know this lovely lady, and if she says she will do it, then it will be done. Just to set off overseas alone these days shows courage. But Chris is a planner, organiser, and doer. She says it was her last trip, but somehow I wonder…….

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 17, 2016 at 13:35

      Hi Marilyn, well I think you and Chris have a lot in common – making things happen! She has inspired me definitely but I’m not sure I could climb a mountain that is for sure. Thanks for the comment and take care. xx

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