Explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, has announced that he is attempting a new record-breaking challenge to raise funds for charity


72-year-old Sir Ranulph Fiennes who is famed for pushing himself to the limits despite ailing health, has announced he is aiming to become the first person to have crossed both polar ice caps and climb the highest mountain on every continent.

For his Global Reach Challenge in aid of Marie Curie, between August 2016 and May 2017 Sir Ranulph will attempt to climb Mount Carstensz in New Guinea in Australasia, Mount Vinson in Antarctica, Aconcagua in South America and finally Denali, the highest peak in North America.

Sir Fiennes has already crossed both polar ice caps (the entire Antarctic continent and Arctic Ocean),  when he circumnavigated the world on its polar axis in 1982 – a three year trans-globe expedition travelling solely by sea and land on a route that has never been repeated.  He has climbed Mount Everest in Asia (2009), Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa (2004) and Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe earlier this week (July 2016).

Fiennes Challenge

Despite his highest climb reaching over 22,000 feet, Sir Fiennes will 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.

But he is no stranger to physical challenges and is the holder of several endurance records despite suffering two heart attacks and undergoing a double heart bypass.

His motivation comes from a determination to raise funds for Marie Curie and help the charity provide vital care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their families. Sir Fiennes will be dedicating each mountain climb to a Marie Curie patient, volunteer or supporter.  During his recent summit of Elbrus, the explorer carried a letter from Marie Curie volunteer, Mark Hughes, 54 from Southend, Essex, who is living with terminal cancer.

Talking about his reasons for taking up the challenge, Sir Fiennes said: “I feel compelled to keep setting myself these challenges to raise money for Marie Curie. Since the death of my first wife Ginny who died surrounded by her family, I’ve wanted to raise money to help Marie Curie Nurses care for people living with any terminal illness, and their families.

“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 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 will be accompanied by long-term expedition partner, Dr Mike Stroud on his upcoming mountain climbs.

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