West Country explorer set his sights on new challenge

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has announced his latest challenge - to be the first to cross both polar ice caps & climb each continent's highest peak. Credit: Liz Scarff

World renowned explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has announced his latest challenge.

He hopes to be the first person to cross both polar ice caps and climb the highest mountain on each continent.

The 72-year-old already holds several endurance records despite ill health - having had two heart attacks and a double heart bypass.

Between August 2016 and May 2017 the Exmoor explorer will attempt to climb:

  • Mount Carstensz, Indonesia, Australasia - 4,884m / 16,023ft

  • Mount Vinson, Antarctica - 4,897m / 16,066ft

  • Aconcagua, Argentina, South America - 6,959m / 22,831ft

  • Denali, USA - 6,194m / 20,321ft

  • Mount Elbrus, Russia, Europe - 5,642m / 18,510ft

  • Mount Everest, Nepal, Africa - 8,848m / 29,029ft

  • Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Asia - 4,877m / 16,001ft

Sir Ranulph has already reached the North and South Poles by crossing the Antarctic continent and the Arctic Ocean in 1982, climbed Mount Everest in 2009, Mount Kilimanjaro in 2004 and Mount Elbrus, earlier this week.

On his upcoming mountain climbs he will face difficulties climbing due to losing half of each of the fingers and thumb on his left hand after sustaining severe frostbite in 2000.

Sir Ranulph will also overcome vertigo and Cheyne–Stokes - a condition which debilitates his breathing above 16,000 feet. He will also contend with extreme temperatures, unpredictable weather, crippling altitude sickness, the risk of falls, avalanches and crevasses.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes on Everest Credit: Liz Scarff

Sir Ranulph is completing his the Global Reach Challenge in aid of Marie Curie.

He will be dedicating each mountain climb to a Marie Curie patient, volunteer or supporter. During his recent summit of Elbrus, he carried a letter from Marie Curie volunteer, 54-year-old Mark Hughes, who is living with terminal cancer.

Sir Ranulph's challenge

He's said it will be the culmination of a lifetime of exploration and death-defying challenges.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes at the top of Elbrus Credit: Marie Curie