Mountaineer’s high hopes for magnificent seven

AIMING HIGH ... Steve Berry in training for his ascent on Mount Elbrus, below.
AIMING HIGH ... Steve Berry in training for his ascent on Mount Elbrus, below.

A HIGH achiever from South Tyneside hasn’t reached the summit of his ambitions just yet – as he closes in on an epic mission to scale the seven highest mountains in all seven continents.

Mountaineer Steve Berry will tackle his sixth peak next month, when he aims to conquer the 5642-metre Mount Elbrus in Russia.

But the 58-year-old won’t feel on top of the world until he makes it a magnificent seven – by inching his way to the top of Mt Vinson in Antartica.

His incredible journey was kick-started when his own travels were put on hold – after his passport was stolen while in Bolivia – and he decided to go on a mountain trek while he was stuck in the country.

Mr Berry, from Central Avenue, South Shields, said; “It all started from there. I climbed the highest mountain in South America in 2009, and that opened my eyes to high altitude climbing.

“Mount Everest is the one everyone talks about.

“When I did that, I said I would like to climb the seven highest mountains in all seven continents.

“Mount Everest is the highest mountain, but the most physically demanding is Mount Denali in Alaska.

“I am looking forward to it as I will also get to see Russia. It has been great to travel to all the continents as well as climbing the mountains.”

“We are heading out on June 14. It is an unsupported trip, so we have a flexible itinerary.

“We are hoping to be back home in two weeks, which gives us some leeway if the weather is cold and there is a lot of snow.

“I will be going with my friend, Ray Smith, who also accompanied me on my last climb at Mount Denali.”

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

His trip to the top of the over 6,000m-plus Mount Denali also helped to raise thousands of pounds for the Help For Heroes charity.

While the Russian adventure will cost Steve and Ray about £1,000 each, it is expected that the final challenge in Antartica will cost 40 times more.

Steve is hoping to secure sponsorship ahead of the attempt to scale Mt Vinson.

But for now his focus is on his trip to Russia – and reaching the top of Europe’s highest mountain.