Here’s another one for our extreme sports personalities – Ranulph Fiennes, or, more correctly, Sir Ranulph Twistleton-Wykeham-Fiennes – a British explorer extroadinaire and the holder of several endurance records. According to the Guinness Book of Records he is the greatest living adventurer.
This is what this extroadinary man has accomplished in his 65 years:
- 1969 Travels the length of the White Nile by hovercraft
- 1970 Traverses Norway’s Jostedalsbreen Glacier
- 1979 to 1982 Travels globe on its polar axis by land transport
- 1992 Discovers lost city of Ubar
- 1993 Attempts to cross the Antarctic unaided
- 2000 On solo walk to North Pole his sleds fall through ice
- 2003 Four months after double heart bypass, he does seven marathons in seven days
- 2005 Attempt on Everest ends when he has a heart attack
- 2007 Climbs north face of Eiger
- 2008 Exhaustion ends a second attempt on Everest
- 2009 Reaches Everest summit
He attempted Everest 3 times. The first time, in 2005, he had a heart attack 300m from the summit. The second time he was forced back at 8,400 metres, suffering from exhaustion. Afterwards he declared: “I won’t be returning to Everest.”
But defeat is simply not in his vocabulary, and despite everything he set off again. Just before 1 a.m. Thursday, 21st May, he became the oldest Briton and first UK pensioner to climb the 8,850 metre peak.
It is hard to believe, after his conquest of Everest and the north face of the Eiger, that this is a man who is morbidly afraid of heights.
Fiennes continues to compete in UK based endurance events and has seen recent success in the Veteran categories of some Mountain marathon races. His training nowadays consists of regular two hour runs around Exmoor.
He’s also an accomplished author. If you’re looking for a REALLY good read, try ‘The Feathermen’ – it’ll keep you spellbound.