Voitek to the top

Voitek, Club Manager at Audley Redwood


Voitek Korus, our Leisure Club Manager at Audley Redwood in Bristol is about to take on a mammoth challenge to raise funds for charity.

"With heartfelt gratitude and unwavering determination", Voitek will take on Mount Tetnuldi on 26th June to raise funds for Alive and BRACE - both dementia charities.

We caught up with Voitek earlier today - his last working day before he heads home for the pack-a-thon to prepare for the climb.

Follow Voitek's journey online and please join in on his extraordinary adventure – whether through generous donations, heartfelt encouragement, or simply spreading the word about such a worthy cause.

Recently featured on BBC Live radio show.


So first of all, what on earth prompted you to climb a mountain?

I’m a mountain lover and that’s always in the back of my mind. I always used to love taking on a mountain. We moved from Poland to the UK in 2007, which meant a few years settling in, then children, then just busy living day-to-day life. In 2018, I finally managed to find the time to climb again. I’m trying to plan one mountain a year to push myself.

Which mountains have you conquered previously?

Kilimanjao and the French alps. Last year, I climbed another Georgian Mountain, during which I met some amazing people. One of whom is climbing with me this time.

Mount Tetnuldi is more technical and more difficult.

Voitek, Club Manager at Audley Redwood
Voitek previously mountain climb
Voitek reaches the summit on a previous climb

How do your wife and children feel about the climb?

My wife is worried, but she worries more about my plans for the Himalayas next year.

The owners and your team mates at Audley Redwood have been really supportive haven’t they?

I count myself so lucky to work at the happiest place in Bristol - Audley Redwood. 

As soon as I mentioned the climb and that I was thinking of fundraising for dementia charities, Mr Roberts (homeowner at Audley Redwood) jumped straight on it, he got the owner’s Forum involved and together they selected the two charities. Mr Roberts had emailed them by the end of that day and got the ball rolling. Everyone here understands why I’m doing it.

What inspired you to choose dementia charities?

My grandma was living with dementia for some time and it was devastating for all of us. I was not yet 20 years old at the time, living at home with my family in Poland, and information around dementia was limited. 

What I would give to go back in time and pay a little respect to my grandma and educate people more about the condition.

Why Alive and BRACE?

The ladies are wonderful. This isn’t about me, this is about the charities. If I can impact one person and put a smile on their face then I’m the winner here.

BRACE is a charity which funds the science behind Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Alive provide activities to lighten the lives of people with dementia. The two charities work together already, which is great. 

As I say, the two charities were chosen by Audley forum members and I can’t thank the Audley homeowners and team members enough for all their support. I’ve only been here 8 months and they wholeheartedly supported this right from my first mention.

Alive logo

About Alive

"Lighting up later life"

Alive is a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life of older people and their carers. Not only do we provide meaningful engagement in care homes, we provide community activity and support through our Meeting Centres and community gardening. We run a range of innovative community and care home projects, bringing art, sport, IT, gardening and intergenerational connections to older people. We work online with our subscription service Alive On Demand, and we deliver face-to-face in groups and in care homes. We believe in true co-production; our activity is shaped by older people and we engage using a variety of tools and techniques, tried and tested over the last 11 years.

BRACE logo


BRACE funds world class clinical and laboratory research into Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia to find better treatments, achieve earlier diagnosis and one day, a cure.

BRACE is a regional charity, supporting researchers in South West England and South Wales. Its area of benefit is global, and it increasingly attracts donations and help from supporters around the UK and abroad.

Our three main aims are to help:

  • provide the means by which medical science comes to understand what causes dementia in its various forms.
  • achieve earlier diagnosis of dementia, thereby giving new treatments and knowledge of prevention more time to make a difference.
  • find new and more powerful treatments, and ultimately a cure.

It’s wonderful that you’re spreading awareness for such a worthy cause.  

Working here I meet people who have experienced all sorts of conditions in their lives, many of whom have been directly or indirectly affected by dementia at some time.

I’m so passionate about making a difference. If I can connect it with mountaineering, that will really get my heart pumping! It’s win win!

So what’s the plan for the climb itself?

I’m meeting the Georgian guide, along with two other climbers I have climbed with before. It’s a small group as I want to make sure it feels like a real personal accomplishment. It’s important to me that I have time to reflect and enjoy the climb.

We aim to reach the summit on Thursday 27th June.

What’s the weather like there?

32/33 degrees. I’ll be landing at 3am when it should be cooler, then moving up north to the where there is very little tourism. It’s a beautiful place which will also be a few degrees cooler. The mountains will reach lows of minus 15 on the summit day.

I’m looking forward to going through the snow and the wind. We aim to reach the summit by 9am at the latest, before the sun is at its hottest. 

So you’ll be starting the ascent at 25 degrees or higher, and reaching the summit at minus 15 degrees, that’s a lot of gear to carry…

I am deliberating whether to pack more than I need. I’ll pack a 85L backpack to start with, containing all the equipment I need - crampons, ice picks, tent and sleeping bag. 

No fancy t-shirts, only specific gear that I know I’ll need. And food!

What will you eat?

We’ll be self-sufficient on the mountain so that means lots of food to carry too. Dried freeze food, nuts, and things like that. Things that are light to carry and easy to snack on.

The effect of the altitude is massive. Once you reach 3,000 metres you lose your appetite and get a headache. It becomes necessary to force yourself to eat and to drink water and keep an eye on others in the group. If you push through certain altitude symptoms unchecked, you can get into big trouble quickly.

Packing for the trek

Tell us something surprising you’ll pack?

Lots of dried figs! Random I know, but I like figs. I pack an abundance of dried fruits and nuts. When altitude symptoms set in and you have to force yourself to eat, those go down easily.

Will you pack any home comforts?

My reliable little inflatable pillow. It’s such an uncomfortable thing but I pack it every year anyway, even though I don’t really have room for it. It has become a tradition.

How long will the climb take?

6 days. We may strive for 5 days but there are some storms expected which may delay us a little. 6 days is something I am ready for.

How have you trained for it?

This is not my first high-altitude trek. Normally it takes 4-6 months to get ready for the trip. It requires lots of cardio and strength training. It’s all about stamina. It’s a feat of endurance! My advice to anyone before a climb is to focus on leg endurance, over and above what you do in the gym. Uphill walking is the best training. I start with only a 5kg backpack when training, then increase the weight over months. I have increased it to 22kg in recent weeks to the peak of my training. 

The training load is massive! I’m generally very active day to day but the recent training has still take its toll on me, so I have tailored it down the last two weeks to make sure I’m not exhausted before the climb.

What do you love most about climbing in general?

Being in the mountains helps me reflect about life and honestly makes me feel like a better person.

What are you most looking forward to on this trip?

Wherever I go, I love to meet new people, and I try to learn from them as much as possible. I consider I’m very fortunate and privileged to work here at Audley Redwood and meet the kind and interesting people I have. Once in the mountains, I will acquire new knowledge – how to stay safe, reflect on how I am, how I behave, how I interact with others. I use it to teach myself how to stay calm in situations.

“Every day is a school day”.

Plus I, of course, enjoy the views and eating in nice places. 

Eating in nice places? Are there Michelin restaurants on Mount Tetnuldi?

Haha no there are not, but I look forward to indulging with a meal in a local Georgian kitchen before we start the climb. There will be modest food options in certain areas in the mountains too. Other than those treats, it’s only what we can carry.

How does it feel to come back down?

Getting to the summit is optional but getting down is mandatory. I live by this.

The summit is an adrenaline rush. If the weather is clear there can be beautiful views but it’s the overall achievement that is the rush. It’s 10 minutes of photos and hugs and celebration and then it’s on to the next challenge – coming back down.

Climbing down is more difficult, and you have to be very careful. More injuries happen on the way down than up. It’s essential to keep your eyes open and stay focused, always looking out for others in the group. It’s 4 days up, 2 days down.

What’s the biggest adrenaline high?

I have goosebumps reaching the top. But you don’t fully realise what you have achieved until you get down.

As soon as I’m down, I start planning the next one. 

Are there any movies you feel give a true-to-life impression of mountain climbing?

Not really. Although Cliffhanger (a classic!) was one of the films that inspired me to climb.

In terms of real life stories, none of the films resonate with me but lots of books are very true to life – Into Thin Air by John Crackenhaur is a great book. It’s about the tragedy on Mount Everest in 1996.

As a child growing up in the 80s in Poland, I recall hearing everyone around me talk about the Polish people who did great things in the Himalayas. The stories were always circulating in Polish communities. That probably played a subconscious role in my interest in climbing. 

Best of luck to you Voitek. We hope the climb is everything you want it to be, spiritually, physically, and financially – raising funds for such a worthy cause.

Voitek will be updating his JustGiving page with video diary entries along the route (up and down). Follow Voitek’s page on JustGiving and on social media.

With heartfelt gratitude and unwavering determination, Voitek will take on Mount Tetnuldi on 26th June to raise funds for Alive and BRACE.

Follow Voitek's journey online and please join in on his extraordinary adventure – whether through generous donations, heartfelt encouragement, or simply spreading the word about such a worthy cause.