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with Stefan Nestler

Fiennes stopped on Aconcagua by his back

Ranulph Fiennes on Aconcagua

Ranulph Fiennes on Aconcagua

Is he really getting old after all? Sir Ranulph Fiennes has back trouble. Britain’s best-known adventurer had to be flown off from Aconcagua by a rescue helicopter at the beginning of the week. On the highest mountain of South America, the 72-year-old suffered from so bad back pain that he could not continue his ascent to the highest point on 6,962 meters. “I was within just a few hours of the summit but problems with my back meant I couldn’t continue,” Fiennes said. “I’m very frustrated, but I’ve learnt that at my age you can’t ignore any pain.”

Across the poles and summits

Fiennes wanted to climb Aconcagua as part of his project that he has called “The Global Reach Challenge“. The Briton wants to become the first ever who will have crossed the Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic as well as climbed the “Seven Summits”, the highest mountains of all continents. Besides Aconcagua, only Denali (6,194 m) in Alaska and the Carstensz Pyramid (4,884 m) in Indonesia are still missing in his success list. Fiennes is using his project to collect donations for the British aid organization “Marie Curie”, which is supporting terminally ill people and their families.

New obstacle



The Briton will now return home and have a thorough checkup before doing anything new. “Another obstacle I will face is that things aren’t as they were in the past,” the adventurer conceded: “The body, with the same amount of training, can’t achieve the same things, so success in this challenge is by no means guaranteed.”

Nearly unstoppable

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who was knighted for his numerous expeditions and charitable activities in 1993, has demanded a lot from his body. He became (along with Charles Burton, who died in 2002) the first man to reach both poles from the coast in 1982. Fiennes rounded the earth along the zero meridian. In 2003, he completed seven marathons within seven days on seven continents – only four months after a bypass operation. In 2009, Fiennes, aged 65, summited Mount Everest. In early 2013, Fiennes had to be rescued during an attempt to cross the Antarctica for the first time in winter because he had suffered frostbite. A new attempt that was planned for this winter was not approved by the British Foreign Office. This man can hardly be stopped.

P.S. Before you start to google: Sir Ranulph Fiennes is a third-grade cousin of the British actors Ralph and Joseph Fiennes.


19. January 2017 | 21:30