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Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
Climber on course for mountain quest
Alan Hinkes at the summit of Annapurna
Hinkes reached the summit of Annapurna in record time
Britain's leading extreme altitude mountaineer has returned to the UK following a record ascent of the world's 10th highest mountain.

Alan Hinkes has become the first Briton to climb 12 of the world's 8,000-metre peaks - including Everest and K2 - after his successful ascent of Annapurna in Nepal.

Mr Hinkes, 48, from Yorkshire, completed his climb in a record five days from base camp to summit.

He now plans to climb a further two mountains to make him the first Briton to climb all 14 of the world's highest peaks.

Annapurna
Annapurna is the 10th highest peak in the world

Mr Hinkes said: "There are only eight people in the world who have climbed all 14 and I'm determined to become the first Briton.

"It's a qualifiable achievement similar to Roger Bannister's four-minute mile which is remembered by everyone as a remarkable feat."

Mr Hinkes began his quest in 1987, under the banner of Challenge 8000.

He climbed the first on his list, Shisha Pangma, in 1987 and has since had a collective 25 attempts at climbing all 14.

In 1997 he hit the headlines when he sneezed on flour-coated chapati on Nanga Parbat, and injured a disc in his back.

He was trapped on the mountain for 10 days before descending and returned to climb the mountain later the same year.


It might sound as if I have a death wish but I climb to live

Alan Hinkes

Despite the dangers of Annapurna - which has a 60% death rate - Mr Hinkes said he did not take safety lightly.

He carries a picture of his 18-year-old daughter Fiona with him and unveils it at the top of every summit rather than the traditional Union flag.

He added: "It might sound as if I have a death wish but I climb to live.

"It makes me feel as if I have done something but I will always carry a picture of Fiona to remind me that nothing is worth a life."

He will now decide in August when to tackle the outstanding two Himalayan mountains, Kangchenjunga and Dhaulagiri, but hopes to complete his quest within the next two years.


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See also:

20 May 02 | N Ireland
25 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
28 Mar 01 | South Asia
06 Mar 01 | South Asia
07 Oct 00 | South Asia
08 Jun 00 | South Asia
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