Richard Parks has reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest.
The former Wales international conquered the gruelling peaks shortly before 3am UK time this morning.
It’s part of his world-record-breaking 737 Challenge, which sees him climbing the highest mountain on each of the world’s continents and venturing to the South and Geographical North Poles in just seven months to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Speaking tearfully from the 29,036ft summit, he said: “It’s hard to really put this into words; it’s just the most amazing feeling.
“There’s just the most amazing mountains; clouds as far as the eye can see – one way’s Nepal, the other Tibet.
“So many times I didn’t think I was going to make it. You know, we have been blessed. We sat yesterday in really high winds in Camp 4, our tents absolutely rattling. I was really worried that we might not get the shot, we might not get the opportunity.
“Our Sherpas Sirdar and Mingma have been absolutely amazing and we just held our nerve. It’s brutally cold, the winds are pretty low and there is not a cloud in the sky on the summit; it is just amazing”.
“The support has been amazing. I’d be lying if I said that I was bulletproof confident – I have had so many moments of doubt. The messages of support have really kept me going, especially as we are all doing it for an amazing cause, Marie Curie Cancer Care.”
High winds prevented Parks and his companion, Olympic rowing gold medallist Steve Williams, reaching the summit in the early hours of Tuesday morning as planned.
Instead, the two had to camp overnight in an area known as the ‘death zone’, with limited rations and oxygen supplies.
Richard won’t be taking a well-earned rest yet, though – he has 48 days left to tackle Denali, North America’s highest mountain; and Elbrus, the highest point in the Russian Caucasus, in order to complete his challenge.
He has so far ticked off an exhausting list comprising the South Pole, Mount Vinson, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, the Carstensz Pyramid and the North Pole.
The two are now back at Camp 4 where they will recover and rest overnight.
Video: Richard calls from Everest summit. Audio only.