Avid autistic High Peak hiker to take on Everest base camp

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An avid hiker who has almost completely non-verbal autism is set to take on his biggest challenge yet - Everest’s base camp.

James Bryan, 50, suffers from autism, celiac disease and epilepsy and speaks about 20 words in total to communicate his most basic needs.

Although care staff who look after James say he is not ‘interested in much of day to day life’ he ‘excels’ at long-distance walking.

James, of New Mills, had always loved walking but when he learned how to camp six years ago he was able to take on much bigger challenges.

These include Spain’s 500-mile Camino de Santiago, the Pennine Way and the England coast-to-coast to name a few - during which he has raised more than £5,000 for the National Autistic Society.

He plans to take on the 40-mile high-altitude trek to base camp in April.

Keyworker David Goodall, who will accompany James on the dizzying walk, said the challenge was on every walker’s bucket list so ‘why can’t it be on James’s?’

He said: “There’s no way of knowing how altitude will affect any of us but we’ve sought advice from doctors and I don’t think James will have any problems.

“He will see a different culture and he loves walking - it’s one of the things he’s very good at and he just goes on and on and on.”

James, who especially enjoys a pint at the end of a hike and says ‘wine and soda’ to ask for one - will walk 40 miles from the Nepalese town of Lukla to base camp with David and another careworker.

Although the distance is relatively short he will spend two weeks trekking altogether - including short altitude hikes in an around Lukla to acclimatise.

After completing the challenge David and James plan to visit a school for autistic children in Nepalese capital Kathmandu - donating items such as colouring books.

James’ base camp trek begins on April 18.

David is asking for donations to help pay for James’ trip and donate any money left over to the National Autistic Society.

To make a donation visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jamesbryan.