South Shields mountain man Steve is back off to Africa

Steve Berry reaches a new high after leading a team of hero soldiers to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Steve Berry reaches a new high after leading a team of hero soldiers to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

A South Tyneside adventurer’s hectic schedule is continuing - as he gets set for another peak challenge just days after heading home from an inspirational African trek.

Globe-trotting Steve Berry landed back in the borough on Sunday - still on a high after leading a team of heroic injured soldiers to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

it is always unfinished business when you don’t complete a climb

Steve Berry

But the enterprising 60-year-old will be clocking up more air miles to front another expedition up Kilimanjaro on Friday - for his fourth date with Africa’s highest mountain this year.

Mr Berry led a 15-strong team of injured soldiers to the top of the 19,000ft mountain after being recruited to by the Not Forgotten Association, a charity set up in 1920 to provide recreational activities and entertainment for ex-services personnel.

Mr Berry said: “I was in Tanzania for 10 days. It was by far the best expedition I’ve had on Mount Kilimanjaro. Those wounded soldiers are something special.

“I got back on Sunday but I am leading another expedition on Friday. I will getting a train to London on Friday morning and flying from Heathrow.”

Once he completes his latest mountain mission he will set his sights on finally conquering Ama Dablam, in Nepal, a year after having to abandon an ill-fated ascent along with climbing partner Ray Smith due to extreme weather conditions.

A fellow climber was killed in an accident while the pair were moving up the daunting 6,800m-high peak last October, and dozens were killed when freak blizzards and avalanches struck the Annurpa Circuit, a popuar trail in the north of the country, during their stay in the region.

Mr Berry, who is currently enjoying a fleeting rest period at home in Central Avenue, South Shields, said: “The bad weather beat us and we made the sensible decision to call off the climb.

“It is always unfinished business when you don’t complete a climb and hopefully we will get it done this time.

“We are going to go over in mid November and will be in the Himalyas for a month.”

Mr Berry will be home in time for Christmas - but aims to kick off the New Year by conquering Mount Vincent, in Antractica, the only one of the seven highest mountains in each continent he has yet to climb.

He has already scaled the other six legs of the magnificent seven - Kilimanjaro on numerous occasions, as well as Mount Everest in the Himalayas, Mount Kosciusko in Australia, Argentina’s Aconcagua, Mount Denali in Alaska and Russia’s Mount Elbrus.