December 19 2014 Latest news:
By RICHARD WOOD
Thursday, October 18, 2012
An adventurous businessman will make one last effort to climb a mountain in Argentina that has defeated him on three previous occasions.
Tim Hirst, 69, has failed to reach the summit of Aconcagua three times, and after a planned fourth attempt two years ago had to be cancelled, he is now having one last try.
Mr Hirst, from Mundham, near Loddon, has raised more than £20,000 for charity through his efforts to climb the highest mountain outside of Asia, but admitted the goal of defeating the mountain is purely selfish.
“I hate being beaten and I want to beat it before I’m too old for it. I promise this is my one last attempt,” he said. “I know I’m capable of doing it.”
Mr Hirst first tried to climb the mountain in 2002 after successfully reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro the previous year.
However he abandoned his effort when he made it to 20,000ft of the 22,841ft climb.
In 2003 he reached 22,000ft and in 2006 made it to 21,000ft.
His fourth attempt was meant to take place in 2010 but after nearly a year of training he suffered a prolapsed disc just a month before he was due to set off.
Mr Hirst said his reaction was “unprintable” but now, two years on, he is ready to try one final time.
“I started training in February with running, gym work and dragging my wife up mountains,” he said.
“There is no point going out there unless you have made an effort to get fit, otherwise you put your colleagues at risk.” The expedition will see him climb for about seven or eight hours a day for 20 days, as he battles freezing temperatures.
On the climb will be joined by a number of other climbers who will be guided by trekking company Jagged Globe and local guides.
“You meet the most amazing people out there and make friends for life, as you’ve all got this one goal to get to the top, so you work together and help each other,” he said.
Mr Hirst leaves in December, but although his training is nearly complete, his efforts to raise money for Quidenham Children’s Hospice and the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind continue.
“The most tiring aspect is raising money as I’ve asked people three times now and it is a bit of a cheek asking for a fourth time. But people are very generous in this country when it comes to giving to charity,” he said.
Mr Hirst, who works for business development manager for grain merchant Openfield, is paying for the trip so that all of the donated money goes to the charities.
To donate visit www.openfield.co.uk/aconcagua