A HEATING engineer from the North-East is preparing for his latest epic adventure – at the coldest place on the planet.

Months after climbing Everest, Steve Graham has announced that he’ll be climbing another the world’s most challenging mountains – Mount Vinson, in Antarctica – in November.

The Darlington father-of-two’s nickname is “Seven Summit Steve” because his ambition is to climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. Mount Vinson will be the sixth, leaving just the Cartenz Pyramid, in Papua, for him to conquer.

Self-employed Steve, 45, embarked on the Seven Summits challenge ten years ago and has raised valuable funds through his intrepid expeditions.

His trip to Everest alone has so far raised more than £15,000 for local and national charities, including St Teresa’s Hospice and Prostate Cancer UK, and he will continue to support those causes.

Steve wasn’t planning another climb so soon after reaching the top of the world’s highest mountain, but he was given an opportunity he says was impossible to turn down.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but I was given the chance to climb Mount Vinson through contacts I’d made while climbing Everest in May, and I had to grasp the opportunity while it was there,” he said.

It is only possible to make the climb during Antarctica’s summer, from mid-November to January, and even then the temperatures will be as low as -30.

Mount Vinson is 16,000 feet high, compared to Everest being 29,000 feet, but the extreme conditions of Antarctica make it potentially just as dangerous.

“It’s a vast ice desert and, as well as the extreme cold, it could also be pretty stormy so I know it’s going to be tough,” said Steve, who is doing weekly hill training in the Lake District.

So far, he has self-funded his expeditions and training, including re-mortgaging his house, and the Antarctica trip will cost around $45,000. He is, therefore, appealing for sponsors to make donations in return for corporate exposure up to and during the expedition, including having a logo on the summit flag.

“It’s a lot of money to raise and even £500 would make a huge difference,” he said.

Steve can be contact by email at sevensummitsteve@yahoo.co.uk. Further information can also be found at www.7summitsteve.com.