He’s had plenty thrown at him so far on his latest challenge, but failure doesn’t seem to be an option

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has announced that, despite a major setback last month, he will continue his attempt to become the first person to cross both polar ice caps and climb the seven highest mountains on each continent.

The illustrious British explorer, now aged 72, was forced to abandon his ascent of Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America in January, after suffering from severe back pain. He was just hours from the top of the 6,962m peak when he was airlifted off, leaving the future of his whole challenge in doubt.

Fiennes will now continue his Global Reach Challenge by attempting to tackle Mount Carstenz, the highest peak in Australasia, at the beginning of April.

“I was very disappointed to abandon my Aconcagua attempt, particularly so close to the summit,” said Fiennes. “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 and 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 as they do so much good for terminally ill people and their families.”

The challenge brings together a lifetime of exploration for Fiennes, who has already crossed both polar ice caps in 1982, climbed Mount Everest in Asia (in 2009 on his third attempt), Mount Kilamanjaro in Africa (2004), Mount Elbrus (2016) and Mount Vinson (2016).

To complete his Global Reach Challenge and claim a world first, Sir Ranulph still needs to successfully climb Aconcagua in South America, Carstenz in Indonesia and Denali in North America.

To support Sir Ranulph’s Global Reach Challenge in aid of Marie Curie go to www.justgiving.com/Ranulph.