Tim Hirst has been taking on Mount Aconcagua in Argentina since climbing to the peak of Mt Kilimanjaro in 2001, but his latest effort left him unable to pass basecamp after breathing diffiulties in the high altitude.
Mr Hirst, who lives in Mundham, near Loddon, suffers from COPD, a group of lung conditions, but has made several attempts to conquer the mountain in order to raise funds for the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB).
He said: “It was a remarkable experience again. I love the place and Argentina, and the mountain itself is just incredible. It is a fascinating hobby to have.
“This time I had a problem with my breathing, and I couldn’t get past basecamp. Unfortunately, it got the better of me.
“To have to turn back so early was frustrating, but I have been doing this a long time and I know my body’s limitations.
“If you’re struggling when you’re low, you’re not going to make it to the top and you’ll end up putting your own life, and other people’s, at risk, so it was an easy decision.
“I have never smoked, but I have weak lungs from COPD and mixed with low oxygen, it took its toll.
“Frustratingly, I got back down and had a medical and my results were better than the other people in my party.”
Mr Hirst, who has been a keen fundraiser for years and completed the London Marathon in 2017, said the mountain offers a “completely different” challenge to Mt Kilimanjaro.
The 22,840ft peak, which is the world’s highest outside the Himalayas, claims an average of between three and five climbers every season, with Mr Hirst seeing a fellow climber fall to his death in 2003.
He said: “I had never heard of Mount Aconcagua before I climbed Kilimanjaro, but even though it isn’t as high the difference is staggering.
“Kilimanjaro is more of an endurance event, but this is a serious mountain with its own weather patterns. They are chalk and cheese.
“The mountain has a number of deaths each year for varying reasons, and you have to be incredibly committed to even attempt it.”Tim Hirst’s attempt on Aconcagua. TIM HIRST
Since beginning his mission to conquer the peak, Mr Hirst has raised more than £25,000 for the NNAB.
He said: “I’ve been lucky enough to raise quite a lot of money in that time and while my ego gets dented, the fact that I have raised thousands for them does temper the disappointment.”
Mr Hirst will welcome visitors to Ditchingham Village Hall on Saturday, February 2, for a talk on his attempts to conquer Mt Aconcagua. Tickets are £5 on the door and all proceeds go to the NNAB and the Bungay Black Dog Running Club.