SIR RaNULPH Fiennes plans to become the first person to cross both polar ice caps and climb the highest mountain on every continent as he takes four death-defying challenge at the age of 72.
The adventurer, who has been dubbed “the world’s greatest living explorer” by the Guinness Book of Records, will attempt to scale four peaks in 10 months to complete the set - Denali, the highest peak in North America, Mount Carstensz in New Guinea, Mount Vinson in Antarctica, and Aconcagua in Argentina.
Sir Ranulph already has Everest under his belt, climbing at the third attempt in 2009. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya in 2004 and Mount Elbrus in Russia in June.
He said: “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 per cent success rate during this year’s season.”
He said he felt “compelled” to take on challenges to help raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care in memory of his first wife Ginny, who died in 2004.
Sir Ranulph reached the North and South Poles in 1982, circumnavigating the globe from pole to pole in a three-year, 35,000-mile (56,327km) trek that made him the first man to reach both poles by surface means.
But his expeditions have taken their toll. He lost the fingers on his left hand to frostbite during a polar expedition in 2000, and suffered two heart attacks and underwent a bypass in 2003.