Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has announced that, despite a setback last month, he will continue his attempt to become the first person to cross both polar ice caps and climb the 7 highest mountains on each continent, to raise money for the terminal illness charity Marie Curie.

Sir Ranulph was forced to abandon his attempt to climb Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America in January, after suffering from severe back pain. The 72-year old was just hours from the top of the 6,962m (22,838 feet) peak when he was airlifted off, leaving the future of his whole challenge uncertain.

Watch Sir Ranulph’s rescue and hear why he’s continuing the challenge

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

Sir Ranulph Fiennes said: "I was very disappointed to abandon my Aconcagua attempt, particularly so close to the summit. 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. 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.

Sir Ranulph has been raising money for Marie Curie for a number of years by taking on extreme challenges. This includes becoming the first person to cross both ice caps and summit Everest – known then as the ‘Explorers Grand Slam’. He was, at the time, the oldest Briton to climb Everest. In 2015 he also became the oldest Briton to complete the gruelling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert.

The money Sir Ranulph raises helps Marie Curie provide vital care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their families. Sir Ranulph has raised over £18m in total for charity and aims to raise £20m for good causes in his lifetime.

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

All donations towards Sir Ranulph’s Global Reach Challenge will go to Marie Curie. The costs of the challenge are being covered by the generous sponsorship of long-term benefactor Paul Sykes and corporate sponsor TMF Group.

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