FIREFIGHTER Carl Marsh has conquered Everest in a 71-mile charity trek – raising thousands of pounds for three charities deeply personal to him.

Four years ago Mr Marsh, 38, lost his older brother Craig in a house fire – and it was this which inspired him to become a firefighter.

“I thought if I could prevent another family going through what I’ve gone through then I would have done my brother proud,” he said.

And last month he went the extra mile – and then several more – by taking on a 71-mile, 14-day hike to Everest base camp, 5,644 metres above sea level, raising £5,300 in the process.

“It was incredible from start to finish,” he said. “Every day brought something fantastic to see from different views, mountains, snowfall, and freezing temperatures. It was amazing.

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Carl Marsh during his trek

“It was a lot tougher than it is given credit for. I was lucky to have been training a lot before I went so fitness-wise I was fine, but mentally it is tough.

“But it was not even a question of me turning back.”

Of the money he raised, £1,500 will go to The Fire Fighters Charity in his brother’s memory, while another £3,500 will go to Velindre Cancer Care.

Mr Marsh lost his aunt to cancer in 2019, and his stepmother Jan, 64, is currently recovering from breast cancer.

The remaining £500 will be handed over to The Stroke Association, which supported Mr Marsh’s dad Paul when he suffered a stroke in 2020, when hospitals were under strict social distancing rules meaning many of the services needed were unavailable.

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Carl Marsh (left) and Paul Marsh (right) at the beach

“Without their help and support my dad wouldn’t have got a lot of the rehab and aftercare that he did have,” he said.

On the 71-mile trek, which began last month, Mr Marsh said possibly the most challenging element was the cold.

“You think ‘ah it’s just cold you can put layers on’ but even with that, gloves, boots and sleeping bags you would still wake up frozen,” he said.

“You are climbing 600m to drop down the other side to then climb another 600m to then drop back down to carry on. You are just constantly up and down all day. It’s tough.”

Out of the three people that Carl set off with only one made it to Base Camp with him.

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Carl Marsh during his trek

Two of the other hikers were unable to make it the full distance, with one being helicoptered to hospital after contracting a chest infection in the high altitude.

“The thought of not letting people down, getting to base camp and doing everyone proud is what really got me through it,” said Mr Marsh. “As hard as it was, every step was worth it.

“There were days where you think ‘God, that was hard’. We would get up at 6am in the morning to then walk nine or 10 hours some days but even then it was worth it.”

Mr Marsh said he owes a big thank you to Adam at Rab, Gavin at decathlon and Emma at Helly Hanson who all donated kit to help him complete the challenge all for charity.

To donate to Mr Marsh's chosen charities, visit