Adventurer set for challenge in Antarctica after climbing Nepal's highest peak
It was a case of third time is extra lucky for a South Tyneside adventurer who has finally ticked off the latest stage of his mammoth mountain mission.
For the last two years Steve Berry has attempted to climb Mount Ama Dablam in Nepal with his climbing partner Ray Smith.
The duo were forced to abandon their trek in October 2014 after being caught in the eye of the storm as freak blizzards and a massive avalanche battered the region, leading to a death toll of over 40.
Last year the pair returned to Nepal, but once again weather conditions weren’t on their side.
The trek was part of the 61-year-old’s quest to climb the seven highest mountains in every continent.
Already Mr Berry has conquered Mount Everest in the Himalayas, Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Argentina’s Aconcagua, Mount Denali in Alaska and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mount Elbrus in Russia.
However, Mr Berry returned to his home in Central Avenue in South Shields, at the weekend after finally climbing the 6,000 meter-high peak in Nepal - but it still wasn’t without danger.
He said: “It has been a true boys’ own adventure from start to finish. Sadly it was tarnished by the death of a Sherpa who was unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time during an earthquake while climbing the mountain.
“During this time Ray and I were safe in Base Camp. But 24 hours earlier then it could have been a different outcome for us! We were very lucky.”
In a lucky twist of fate, during the climb Mr Berry also secured the chance to embark on his final peak, Mount Vinson, in Antarctica.
Mr Berry had been trying to fundraise £40,000 for the journey - when he was offered a reduced rate by a fellow walker he bumped into on Mount Ama Dablam who was unable go ahead with his trek.
He said: “A chance conversation while on the mountain led to me being offered the opportunity to go to Antarctica and climb Mount Vinson at a bargain price - an offer I couldn’t refuse.
“I knew I had to grab this opportunity with both hands. I’ll be flying out on December 23 and should be returning on Janaury 10, so it is quite unfortunate that I will be away from my family at Christmas, but this is the final piece to the jigsaw.”
Mr Berry will be one of just a few hundred people in the world who have climbed all of the peaks.
But for him it’s not about fame, it’s about completing his personal challenge and it means he will be able to pen his first book.
He said: “If successful then I would have completed my seven summit odyssey and then I’ll start on my book, ‘Adventure before Dementia: A Life with Altitude’.”