23 February 2017: Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has announced he will continue his Global Reach Challenge, despite being forced to abandon his attempt to scale Mount Aconcagua in South America last month because of a back injury.
The 72-year-old is determined to become the first person to cross both polar ice caps and climb the seven highest mountains on each continent, to raise money for the terminal illness charity Marie Curie.
Sir Ranulph was just hours from the top of the 6,962m (22,838 ft) peak when back pain forced him to stop. His support team used their IsatPhone 2 satellite phone to call for help and he was airlifted off the mountain, leaving the future of the whole challenge uncertain.
Today he revealed that he will be ready to tackle Mount Carstensz, the highest peak in Australasia, at the beginning of April. He still has to return to Aconcagua and climb Mount Denali in North America to complete his challenge and claim a world first.
“I was very disappointed to abandon my Aconcagua attempt, particularly so close to the summit,” Sir Ranulph said. “But experience has taught me that not every challenge will be a success; it took three attempts for me to successfully climb Mount Everest, for example.
“I have now had a good report from the doctor so I am going to try to do the last three mountains, starting with Carstenz in April. Unless something is seriously wrong with my health, I am determined to keep going. I am looking forward to it and I just hope that my back behaves itself.
“I want to achieve this challenge before anyone else so that I am able to raise money for Marie Curie. That is very important. They do so much good for terminally ill people and their families.”