Mia’s climb goes without a hitch

Mia on the Inca trail
Mia on the Inca trail

Almost a year ago, Portadown woman Mia McKeown had to be airlifted from the world’s highest mountain by helicopter after suffering life-threatening altitude sickness.

This year, Mia, human resources manager for Avondale Foods, was back climbing again, but opted for the less perilous challenge of the Inca Trail to the lost city of Machu Picchu in Peru.

However, she does intend to return to Everest again next year. She said, “I plan to go back to Nepal. I wanted to see how I would cope in Peru at an altitude of 4,200 metres, as I was airlifted at 5,000 metres last year. Acclimatisation is really the secret.

“We gave ourselves three days to adjust in Cuzco which is 3,600 metres above sea level.”

Mia, who was accompanied by fellow Avondale employee Diane Christie, completed the 26-mile trek in four days, enjoying views of snow-peaked mountains and jungle.

She added, “It the most famous trek in South America and is rated by many to be in the top five in the world. Each day gave a stunning mountain view. It was a privilege and a lifetime experience to walk on the Inca paving stones.”

The trek was the highlight of a fundraising campaign by Avondale Foods in aid of Southern Area Hospice Services and Dementia NI.

Mia and six other members of staff also did a zipline across the Lagan while Mia held zumba sessions.