Arthritis sufferer tackles base camp challenge

Regina Worle is not letting her arthritis stop her from climbing to Mt Everest Base Camp in April.
Ben Rogers/Fairfax

Regina Worle is not letting her arthritis stop her from climbing to Mt Everest Base Camp in April.

There is no better feeling than ticking something off your bucket list, Regina Worle says.

She'll get to do that when she hikes to Everest Base Camp this month.

The Auckland resident was diagnosed with arthritis two years ago and is determined to tackle the challenge.

"Arthritis sufferers should not just curl up, give in to the pain and give up hope," she said.

"There is still life and adventure to be had, even with arthritis, go out and do the things you want to do."

Base Camp sits 5150 metres above sea level and the trek there takes around 10 days and another four to get back.

"I have had some sleepless nights, I am petrified," she said.

"I'm as prepared as I could be, I don't know what else I could do."

The 56-year-old has been going to the gym every second day as well as taking regular walks and hikes. She departs on April 6.

"It's much harder to get fit with the arthritis. You are always a bit restricted with resistance and strength training. Some days it hurts more than others."

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Worle was diagnosed with arthritis in her wrists, thumbs and knee and says she doesn't let the pain control her life.

"This will be the biggest thing I've ever done.

"I had a decent level of fitness to start with so I have built on that and working to a new programme."

Worle heads to Kathmandu before flying into the Tengzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla – often labelled the most dangerous airport in the world because of its location, short runway and the high altitude.

The chance to travel to Nepal came when a friend invited her to go.

"It was the opportunity I was waiting for so I thought I had to do it. When you get older things come up in life and you think you are never going to get there."

The pair will stay in tea houses on the trail to Base Camp.

Worle moved to New Zealand from Austria 24 years ago but has never travelled anywhere as remote as Nepal before.

Now she has started to work through her bucket list she hopes she will be able to go on more adventures in the future.

"If this is the only one I manage then I'll still be happy."

 - Stuff

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