The challenge

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Undaunted by age or failing health, Sir Ranulph Fiennes is attempting to become the first person to have crossed both polar ice caps and climbed the highest mountain on every continent.

Between November 2016 and June 2017 he plans to scale Mount Vinson in Antarctica, Aconcagua in Argentina (South America), Mount Carstensz in New Guinea (Australasia),  and Denali, the highest peak in North America and one of the world’s most dangerous and difficult mountains to climb.

He conquered Vinson in December but failed to make the summit of Aconcagua the following month due to a back injury which saw him evacuated by helicopter from the mountainside. Undeterred, he intends to pick up the challenge in April, with an attempt on Mount Carstensz.

Sir Ranulph has already reached the North and South Poles by crossing the Antarctic continent and the Arctic Ocean (1982), climbed Mount Everest in Asia (2009), Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa (2004) and Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, in July 2016.

The Global Reach Challenge in aid of UK charity Marie Curie, which provides vital care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their families, is just the latest in an exhaustive list of feats which has seen him raise £18 million for good causes. He has said he does not want to stop until he reaches a round £20 million.

Staying connected

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Inmarsat is supporting Sir Ranulph with a package of satellite connectivity services and airtime so he can highlight his fundraising campaign and share the highs and lows of the challenge.

Two IsatPhone 2 satellite phones will keep Sir Ranulph, his support team and a production company filming his endeavour in touch with each other and the rest of the world. The robust handset has been engineered to cope with the extreme conditions they will experience at 20,000ft (6,000 metres), and offers unrivalled battery life, excellent voice clarity and the reassurance of operating over the reliable Inmarsat-4 satellite network.

With IsatHub, Inmarsat’s smart device connectivity service, the challenge team will be able to keep followers updated on his progress with images, blogs and social media updates using their own phones and all their apps.

And BGAN HDR high speed streaming will power live broadcasts on the BBC’s Breakfast Show. With minimum throughput of 580kbps with its full channel option, reaching as high as 800kbps, the service delivers a real step-change in video quality, bringing the majesty of the mountains into viewers’ living rooms.

A man of adventure

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Sir Ranulph’s passion for adventure started in 1967 when he scaled the Jostedalsbreen Glacier in Norway. Since then he has led over 30 expeditions, with notable achievements including:

  • Becoming the first to circumnavigate the world on its polar axis (with expedition partner Charles Burton) – a three year expedition travelling solely by sea and land on a route that has never been repeated
  • Becoming the first person, (with adventurer Dr Mike Stroud), to cross the Antarctic continent on foot, unsupported
  • Running seven marathons in seven days on seven continents, just four months after a double heart bypass
  • Becoming the first person to cross both ice caps and summit Everest
  • Completing the gruelling 156 mile (251km) Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert in 2015, also in aid of Marie Curie, which cares for people with terminal illnesses, and their families.

Of his latest challenge, he said: “After finally summiting Everest after three attempts I said I would leave any other mountains to the proper climbers, but various events changed my mind. Climbing four further mountains in a short space of time is going to be a definite challenge, especially Denali in Alaska which only had an 18 per cent success rate during this year’s season. But, if it raises money for Marie Curie, then I would really like to have a go.”

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