It was 2009 and he had to surface quickly when air in his tanks began to run out. The pressure from the 40m ascent caused a trauma to his spinal cord that has left him needing to use a wheelchair.
Now aged 30, he doing something to support those who helped with his long rehabilitation.
Rich, from Edinburgh, is set to lead a team that will help him climb Mount Snowdon in July.
Rich’s team, Leigh Day & Friends, are taking on the challenging ascent, known as the Snowdon Push, to raise funds for Back Up, a national charity that supports people affected by spinal cord injury.
Rich will use a specially adapted wheelchair to climb to Snowdon’s peak, with the support of friends and colleagues.
It will be tough.
They’ll push together to reach the summit of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, which stands at 3560 feet.
Speaking about the challenge, Rich said: “I always like to challenge myself so that the main reason why I’m taking this on. I also used to enjoy hillwalking before my accident so I’m looking forward to getting back into that.
“I want to get back that feeling of accomplishment after taking on a huge physical challenge.”
Back Up is a leading national charity that inspires people affected by spinal cord injury to get the most out of life. More than 400 highly skilled volunteers and staff make up the team – many of whom are affected by spinal cord injury.
The Snowdon Push involves teams of between 10 and 16 people aiming to conquer the highest point in England and Wales.
One member of each team must be a wheelchair user, which means pushing, pulling, and wheeling together to reach the summit and back down again. Last year, 13 teams took on the challenge and collectively raised over £96,000 to support Back Up’s vital services.
“I want to do all I can to raise money for Back Up, a charity that’s always been there for me. I’m also hoping to meet some new people and form new friendships while we all challenge ourselves for a good cause,” says Rich.
The charity offers wheelchair skills training, an accredited mentoring service, proactive telephone support, life skills and activity courses, and support returning to work or education.
“The Snowdon Push is such a fantastic experience that really brings people together as a team for a good cause.
“It’s very important for Back Up to have the support of people like Rich,” Alexandra Provan, Back Up’s Challenge Fundraiser, said. “We can’t express how thankful we are for their efforts.”
Donate at mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/leighday