Donald Staunton, 48, from Ventnor on the Isle of Wight, was rescued by climbing wall staff after 24 hours of repeated attempts to ascend the ‘North Face of the Eiger’ revealed that he had mistakenly spent all of his time making repeated attempts to ascend ‘The Big Blue Rock’ at the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent. An exhausted Mr Staunton told reporters, ‘I feel more than a little foolish. It turns out that I had misunderstood the venue and, instead of ascending the most perilous test of alpine mountaineering, I had actually purchased a number of ‘challenge climb’ tickets and was simply making repeated efforts to ascend the same climbing wall. I suppose it was the fact that each ascent was of increasing difficulty that misled me and my understanding of what it was that I was doing.’
‘For some reason, I was convinced that I had already set up base camp and that I was attempting the ascent of the Eiger. It turns out that staff at ‘Blacks’ camping store had tried to tell me that the store was not the foothills of the Bernese Alps, and I had simply ignored them when they tried to stop me from pitching camp there. Apparently, I had threatened them with my crampons.’
‘I was convinced that I had driven all the way to Switzerland. The journey had taken 24 hours. Again, it turns out that the curse of the M25 struck again, and the ‘channel tunnel’ and the ‘alpine tunnels of Switzerland’ were simply repeated drives through the Dartford Tunnel.’
Mr Staunton is recovering from exhaustion in Dartford Hospital. His spirits are said to up, however, and he is already making plans for sailing around the entire coastline of the United Kingdom, starting from the Isle of Sheppey.