FROM the lows of being dumped by a wave at Cottesloe and breaking his neck, Steve Plain will reach some of the highest points on Earth.
The Burswood resident has made a remarkable recovery since that December day in 2014 and is attempting a world record as he tries to climb the highest summits on the seven continents in four months from January.
“It was about 5.30am and I decided to go in for a swim with my friends; I saw a wave coming through and I put my head under water and then I blacked out,” he said.
“I woke up upside down and I tried to get upright but I couldn’t move my arms.
“I was lucky that there were lifesavers on the beach that could help.”
Mr Plain was taken to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital before being transferred to Royal Perth Hospital’s trauma unit.
“The doctors wanted to operate and fuse the vertebrae, which would have meant that I would lose mobility, but because of some complications with torn ligaments it was too hard,” he said.
“They put me in a halo brace and I never had an operation.
“I was in the brace for 16 weeks and then a soft neck brace for two months.
“I started physio with small movements and then did my rehab at Aqualife with some gentle swims and some time in the gym.”
Mr Plain said it was his time in the hospital that confirmed to him he wanted to take on the seven summits.
“It was something I had always wanted to do and this was the kick up the butt to do it,” he said.
“About 11 months after the accident, I climbed Mt Aspiring in New Zealand and after that I went to the Peruvian Andes and two trips to the Himalayas.
“I’ve been keeping up my fitness work while I’m in Perth, running up and down Jacob’s Ladder and doing lots of strength-based exercises.”
Mr Plain said the mountain he was most looking forward to climbing was Vinson Massif on Antarctica.
“I’m looking forward to the adventure, it’s a bit like the last frontier,” he said.
“I’m not so excited about Denali in Alaska because we will be going during winter, on a good day there it will be -40C with gale force winds.
“I’m feeling good but there are so many unknowns and there is the logistics of climbing these remote locations, which makes things difficult.”
Mr Plain will be raising money for Surf Life Saving WA and Spinal Cure Australia.
Visit http://www.project7in4.com/ for more information about his trip.