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5 April, 2022

A push to see how far the human body can go

DRIVEN to see how far the human body can go, one Tablelands local has challenged himself to scale the seven highest peaks in the world with a 20kg weight vest, using Mt Baldy as his “playground”.

By Rhys Thomas

After setting himself the goal of climbing the world’s seven highest peaks, Atherton’s Sean Dromey has been using Mt Baldy as his “playground” as he scales the mountain almost daily, carrying around half his body weight with a vest and equipment.

30-year-old Sean Dromey initially arrived in Australia from Ireland in 2015, travelling across the country working as a chef before falling in love with the beautiful landscape of the Atherton Tablelands. 

“I just fell in love with the landscape, I’m trying to take up landscape photography as an actual hobby which I have been incorporating into my hiking,” Sean said. 

“I have my own dreams and aspirations of doing the world’s seven highest peaks, so I started training and adding weights. 

“The local fauna and flora, the sound of the twigs breaking from underneath your feet, the birds chirping, you can hear the water flowing, you don’t even concentrate on your breathing – you’re just concentrating on nature and that in of itself has a soul cleansing effect.” 

On top of the weight vest, Sean also travels with a usual hiking pack which can be upwards of 20kg. 

“I’m normally hiking with about half my body weight on top of me,” he said. 

A breakdown of his marriage two years ago was the catalyst that pushed Sean to run and get fit, instead of turning to alcohol like others may do. 

Sean was so determined, he would run up a mountain every day and scale Walsh’s Pyramid three times a week just last year. 

With his house just a short five-minute walk from the Mt Baldy car park, Sean has been using the mountain as his “playground”, as he dons his 20kg weight vest and makes his way up to the top of the mountain. 

The journey doesn’t stop there however, upon reaching the top Sean does push-ups, handstands and freestanding yoga before running back down.

To date, Sean’s fastest time on Mt Baldy without weights is 16 minutes 30 seconds and with 40kg of weight, 26 minutes, a far cry from one of his first ever hiking times on the Walsh’s Pyramid of 1 hour and 30 minutes. 

His goal then was to get his time under an hour and after succeeding in that, he kept pushing the time shorter and shorter, eventually aiming to get his time under 50 minutes. 

“If I’m getting it done in under 50 minutes, I’m kind of entering that zone where your leaving what is normal and entering what is considered almost professional,” Sean said. 

“I got to 50 minutes and I could not believe that I went from an hour 30, which was considered good, to 50 minutes. 

“I said ‘ok, what if I can do better than this’ and basically someone said if you add weights and resistance to your running regime, when you take the weights off, you run faster.” 

Sean is currently using Mt Bartle Frere as a reference to see if he is ready to tackle Mt Kilimanjaro next year. 

“Kilimanjaro will be next on the list, in this year I’m planning to get up Mt Bartle Frere in a certain time frame with 40kgs attached to me,” he said. 

“If I can get this done, in this year, in that time frame then Kilimanjaro is the next obstacle. 

“Consistency is the key to success.” 

Currently with weights on, Sean is scaling Mt Bartle Frere with a time of four hours and 30 minutes while without weights, he can do it in just two hours and 40 minutes. 

After climbing Mt Bartle Frere in his set time, Sean is aiming for further heights beyond Australia and into the Himalayas, with Mt Everest at the top of his hit list.

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