A defiant South Tyneside adventurer is refusing to close the book on his bid to complete a magnificent mountain mission years in the making.
Mountaineer Steve Berry is aiming to swap his harness for handwriting to pen a success story on his incredible effort to scale the seven highest mountains in every continent.
The super-fit 61-year-old has already reached six of the summits, Mount Everest in the Himalayas, Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Argentina’s Aconcagua, Mount Denali in Alaska and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, as well as Mount Elbrus in Russia.
But before the elusive final chapter of his inspiring tale can be told he must first conquer Mount Vinson, situated near the South Pole in Antarctica.
Mr Berry will need to stump up close to £40,000 to pay his way onto an expedition party tackling the 16,050 ft high mountain.
He says it would be far too risky to attempt alone, leaving him with an uphill battle to join a party of climbers already planning an ascent.
I won’t put pen to paper until I’ve climbed the seventh mountain.Steve Berry
Mr Berry is hoping for a benevolent business benefactor to aid his quest by offering to sponsor him - with the firm getting high-profile exposure in return.
Mr Berry, of Central Avenue, South Shields, said: “It is very frustrating. I would still love to do it.
“I have a book waiting to write, but I won’t put pen to paper until I have climbed the seventh mountain.
“I am quite philosophical about it.
“If it’s not to be, it’s not to be.
But with a place in history so tantalisingly close, he is hoping to make one final push towards the peak of his ambitions.
The seven summits challenge has been achieved by only 31 climbers from the UK in history, putting Mr Berry right on the edge of elite company.
He added: “It is not an easy climb, so it is not something I would attempt alone.
“I am still hoping to be part of another expedition, but many are quite small teams that can’t afford to have me come along.
“I have still not given up hope of making the climb.”
Globe-trotting Steve’s dream may be on hold but he has still been clocking up the air miles at a rapid rate.
He has only recently returned from a three-week expedition in Borneo and will be jetting off to Mount Kiliminjaro before the end of the month.
Any businesses who would like to lend a helping hand to Mr Berry’s mountain challenge can contact him on Sberry5729@aol.com