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Tim's final tilt at the might Andes peak

PUBLISHED: 12:24 15 October 2010

A BUSINESSMAN with a head for heights is attempting to climb a mountain in Argentina for the fourth time after three previous goes at scaling the summit failed.

Tim Hirst, from Mundham, has raised more than £20,000 for charity through his attempts to scale Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas and the highest mountain outside Asia.

The mountain in the Andes range is 22,841 feet high and is considered one of the toughest in the world to climb.

Every year a number of people die trying to reach the summit.

Mr Hirst, 67, first tried to scale Aconcagua in 2001 but came closest to his goal of reaching the summit in 2006 when he reached 22,000 feet before conditions forced him to turn back.

He is heading back for a fourth and final time in December and will spend Christmas in freezing temperatures.

Mr Hirst, business development manager for grain merchant Openfield, is raising money for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, The Royal National Institute of Blind People and St Peter’s Church at Mundham.

He said: “I keep going because I hate being beaten – I just want to beat this.

“I have been training since February and I am out every night walking or in the gym doing something to keep my fitness levels up.

“The trouble is that despite all the training and the preparation the altitude pulls all sorts of tricks.

“Half of it is physical and half is mental. If mentally you weaken the mind says you are not going to make it and you don’t. It all depends on the weather conditions up there. With wind chill it could be -35C to -45C.”

Mr Hirst said the expedition would involve climbing solidly for about seven or eight hours a day for 20 days.

He will be travelling with trekking company Jagged Globe and local guides and support are provided.

“There will be doctors and at various points you have to pass various tests,” he said. “The mountain has got a fairly high death rate. A lot of people under estimate how serious and dangerous it can be.”

Mr Hirst recently married his partner Rachel and said she would be flying out to Argentina when he finishes his climb in the New Year for a honeymoon.

He said every penny raised would go to his chosen char-ities as he is paying for all costs incurred in the expedition.

He said of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices: “It is great to be able to contribute to the marvellous work they do. I am just in awe of the dedication of the staff.”

To find out more and to sponsor Mr Hirst visit www.openfield.co.uk/aconcagua and www.virginmoneygiving.com/tim.hirst

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