Big freeze threatens climber’s summit bid

MOUNTAIN MISSION ... Steve Berry's bid to climb Mount Elbrus is under threat from the weather.

MOUNTAIN MISSION ... Steve Berry's bid to climb Mount Elbrus is under threat from the weather.

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A SOUTH Tyneside climber’s bid to scale Europe’s highest mountain could be put on ice – as temperatures plunge in Russia.

Steve Berry is closing in on a mammoth mission to reach the summit of the seven highest mountains in the globe but is depending on some help from the elements to complete his sixth peak, Mount Elbrus.

Mr Berry, 58, and climbing partner Ray Smith are already 4,000 metres up the mountain – which stands at 5,642 metres tall – but a worrying weather forecast could yet force the challenge to be abandoned.

The pair are battling temperatures as low as -26 degrees and winds as strong as 70km an hour, with snow storms making visibility increasingly difficult.

The adventurers are now waiting for a break in the bad weather to make their final push to the summit.

With four days of food supplies to sustain them, they could face the prospect of cutting short the challenge if weather conditions do not improve.

Mr Berry, from Central Avenue, South Shields, said: “We are packed and ready for the final push. The weather forecast is for 70km winds with snow and temp.down to -26 degrees.

“The snow storms will make visability an issue with the danger of falling into crevasses a possibility. Moving on the mountain will be out of the question.

“The main task is to establish our high camp then wait for a favourable weather window.

“We only have enough food to last us four days and after that we will have to abandon the climb.

“I’m sure it’ll not come to that, fingers crossed.”

Steve has already conquered Mount Everest in the )Himalayas, Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Argentina’s Aconcagua, Mount Denali, and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.