AN INTREPID fundraiser is scaling his fifth and final mountain as part of an epic effort to pull in the pounds.
Stephen Court, 27, is trekking up Mount Aconcagua – the tallest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas.
Stephen, from Kempshott, Basingstoke, has set himself the challenge of raising £40,000 to be split between St Michael’s Hospice, in Aldermaston Road, Basingstoke, and Marwell Wildlife, near Winchester.
He has so far raised £7,000, through his mountain climbing and organising events such as the Kempshott Festival.
So far Stephen has successfully scaled Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Toubkal in Morocco, and Machu Picchu in Peru.
An attempt to reach the peak of Mera Peak in Nepal last October was thwarted by illness ,but he hopes to reach the Aconcagua summit in Argentina on January 20.
Speaking before setting off, Stephen, who is a police officer, described it as the “challenge of a lifetime”.
He said: “There are no guarantees that I will make it as the weather is unpredictable and can change in a few minutes.
“Another stepping stone is altitude sickness. Throw this in with the constant risk of injury and illness and this really will be a challenge of a lifetime.
“I have every intention of making it to the top and hope to fulfil my dream.”
In an email from base camp over the weekend, Stephen said he was doing well, despite temperatures peaking at 30 degrees during the day and dropping to -10 degrees at night.
Stephen’s fiancée Colette Storer, who he is set to marry this summer, said: “It is very worrying, and we all worry about him, but we’re very proud of him too. Our daughter, Felicity, who is six, thinks it is so cool that her daddy is up a mountain.”
To make a donation to Stephen’s effort, visit justgiving.com/stephen-court.