Following his record breaking summit of Annapurna in May last year British mountaineer Alan Hinkes has announced that his next "Challenge 8000" expedition will be to climb Kangchenjunga (8586m). Alan will be flying out to the Himalaya at the end of March and hopes to reach the summit during May.Alan Hinkes is the UK´s most successful extreme high altitude mountaineer and is the first Briton to have climbed 12 of the 14 8,000m peaks, including many of the world´s most famous and dangerous mountains such as Everest and K2. "Challenge 8000" is Alan´s quest to climb all 14 of the 8000m peaks. 2002 saw Alan successfully summit Annapurna by a new route and record the first British ascent for over 30 years. Having managed this in a record 5 days after leaving base camp this leaves him only 2 of the 8000 metre peaks to summit, Kangchenjunga and Dhaulagiri. All of these mountains are in the "Death Zone", an unforgiving environment where the human body rapidly deteriorates and no one can survive for more than a few days. Alan had to previously abandon an attempt on Kangchenjunga in May 2000 following bad weather conditions; while on his descent a snow bridge collapsed across a crevasse and he fell into it, breaking his arm. Kangchenjunga is the third highest peak in the world and having encountered the giant before Alan knows, like its fellow 8000ers it is a very dangerous mountain and one for which he has to prepare meticulously. Alan comments: Each mountain I climb offers its own challenges. Kangchenjunga lies at the eastern extreme of the Himalaya and is exposed to exceptionally bad weather conditions as the monsoon period moves in. The terrain is very difficult and even the 14 day trek into base camp will be harder than most, and once on the mountain there is a very serious danger of avalanche and rockfall. As I have always said I climb to live, not to die – the summit is always optional but returning is mandatory." In 1997, Alan hit national headlines when he sneezed on excess flour from a chapatti while on Nanga Parbat and prolapsed a disc in his back. He was in agony, trapped on the mountain for ten days before struggling down lower to rescue. He recovered and went back to summit Nanga Parbat later the same year. Alan on the summit of Annapurna Alan Hinkes has been working with Berghaus since the early 1980s and will be using many of the company´s most technical products whilst on expedition. Updates of his progress will be sent back to the UK on a regular basis and will appear on the Berghaus website (www.berghaus.com).
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