Explorer Ranulph Fiennes back in peak form at 72

Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes plans next adventure. PA photoExplorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes plans next adventure. PA photo
Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes plans next adventure. PA photo

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ADVENTURER Sir Ranulph Fiennes is to take up his ice pick once again and embark on yet another death-defying challenge at the age of 72.

The man dubbed “the world’s greatest living explorer” by the Guinness Book of Records plans to become the first person to cross both polar ice caps and climb the highest mountain on every continent on Earth.

His latest gruelling adventure will see him attempt to scale four mammoth peaks in 10 months to complete the set, despite his advanced years and injuries from past expeditions.

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Sir Ranulph 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.

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“Climbing four further mountains in a short space of time is going to be a definite challenge, especially climbing Denali in Alaska which only had an 18% success rate during this year’s season.

“But, if it raises money for Marie Curie then I would really like to have a go.”

He said he felt “compelled” to take on challenges to help raise funds for Marie Curie, one of the good causes for which he has previously made millions of pounds, in memory of his first wife Ginny, who died in 2004.

This latest adventure, the Global Reach Challenge in aid of Marie Curie, will see him attempt to conquer Denali, the highest peak in North America, after scaling Mount Carstensz in New Guinea, Mount Vinson in Antarctica, and Aconcagua in Argentina.

Sir Ranulph already has Everest under his belt, climbing the world’s tallest peak at the third attempt, in 2009.

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He reached the North and South Poles in 1982, circumnavigating the globe from pole to pole in a three-year, 35,000-mile (56,327km) trek that made him the first man to reach both poles by surface means.

He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya in 2004 and Mount Elbrus in Russia in June, Marie Curie said.

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Sir Ranulph’s expeditions have taken their toll. He lost the fingers on his left hand to frostbite during a polar expedition in 2000.

He has also suffered two heart attacks and underwent a double heart bypass in 2003.

Last year he needed medical attention after running for 30 hours in more than 50C (122F) heat at the Marathon des Sables in Morocco.

Dr Jane Collins, chief executive of Marie Curie, said: “Sir Ranulph has an unfailing commitment to raise money for Marie Curie and he is quite literally going to the ends of the Earth and back to do so. His determination and ability to push himself to his limits is truly inspiring.”

Frederik van Tuyll, chief executive of TMF Group, which is sponsoring the challenge, said: “Sir Ranulph Fiennes is the world’s greatest living explorer. He has inspired many for generations with his perseverance and dedication, and has pushed himself to the extreme to complete some of the world’s most gruelling and difficult challenges.”


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