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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 09:09 GMT
Explorer swaps gorge for Everest
Sir Ranulph Fiennes climbing the Avon Gorge in Bristol
Sir Ranulph is afraid of heights
Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has been preparing for his forthcoming ascent of Everest by climbing in the Avon Gorge.

The Somerset adventurer will climb the mountain's North Face next month - despite his fear of heights - to raise 2m for the British Heart Foundation.

And he has been practising on the rocky cliffs of the gorge in Bristol.

Sir Ranulph suffered a near-fatal heart attack in 2003 but months later broke records by completing seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

Missing fingers

Sir Ranulph, 61, told the BBC: "It gets a little difficult when I have to hold on with my left hand as I'm short of a few fingers.

"But when you're at high altitudes, because of the lack of oxygen, what would normally be easy becomes very hard anyway. I'm looking forward to it though."

His climbing partner Hadyn Griffiths said: "We've been climbing at least once a month since last September starting on fairly easy routes and building up from there to today's climb which is graded 'hard/very severe'."

In 1993, Sir Ranulph became one of the first men to walk unaided across Antarctica.

Seven years later, severe frostbite dramatically halted this attempt to reach the North Pole after he plunged into freezing water when one of the two sledges he was towing fell through thin ice.

Explorer plans to join Rat Race
14 Mar 05 |  Bristol/Somerset
Fiennes relishes marathon feat
03 Nov 03 |  Americas
Explorer Fiennes home after heart op
13 Jun 03 |  Bristol/Somerset
Heart bypass for explorer
08 Jun 03 |  Bristol/Somerset

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