UK student conquers mountain in Thailand blindfolded

A Cambridge philosophy student conquered a Thai mountain blindfolded in tribute to his blind sister and to raise money for charity.

The 21 year old scholar climbed the treacherous Doi Suthep, near Chiang Mai, with his girlfriend, as he embarked on a three-day journey on July 11 blindfolded to fundraise for a charity that supports his sister Harriet, who was born blind.

Smith, from Moreton Pinkney, near Brackley in Northamptonshire, admitted he wanted to tear off the blindfold and witness the natural splendour around him, as he was guided up the mountain by his Eimear Pickstone, but he remained committed to the 72 hours’ blackout, only removing his blindfold to wash his face, his eyes remaining shut.

UK student conquers mountain in Thailand blindfolded | News by Thaiger

“Seeing the photos later was weird because it was so incredible. It was non-stop sleeping, eating, hiking, swimming, everything, the blindfold was on.

“The hardest part wasn’t climbing the mountain, it was having to rely on Eimear for everything – asking her for my bottle of water, or to help me find my toothpaste.

“It was really tough giving up all my independence to her, and tough for her to be so intertwined with my life for three whole days.”

UK student conquers mountain in Thailand blindfolded | News by Thaiger

Smith described the ascent up Doi Suthep as really steep and rough, through thick jungle and rain, with no clear path.

“It was quite a feeling when we got to the top, and a different experience for Eimear, too, as there were beautiful views up there. For me, it was a powerful feeling of raw achievement and relief.”

Smith, who moved onto Laos after the Thailand trip, admitted he can’t wait to have a chat with his sister about the experience when he returns to the UK.

“I felt I learned a lot about my brave, strong, incredible sister and the challenges she faces, and about myself.”

So far, the blindfolded adventurer has raised £3,300 (143,000 baht) for the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).

Follow more of his story here:


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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.