Daredevil doctor conquers the peaks

BEFORE setting off to climb one of the world's highest mountains there are certain essential items you must take with you – warm clothing, decent footwear, a climbing harness – these are just some of the things that spring to mind.

But for daring doctor Alistair Sutcliffe, the Whitby Gazette has been one of the first things he has packed before heading out on his last seven death-defying jaunts.

Dr Sutcliffe (43) recently completed his five year challenge of topping the highest mountain in each of the seven continents.

He is now one of only 90 people ever to have reached all seven peaks, including the dreaded Carstenz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea.

And each time he reached the top of a mountain he took out a copy of the Whitby Gazette for a series of amazing pictures.

His escapades have ensured the Whitby Gazette is the first paper in history ever to be photographed at the top of all seven peaks.

Dr Sutcliffe, a GP at Whitby Group Practice, has been climbing for more than 25 years and runs six or seven marathons a year to keep fit and focused.

During his historic seven climbs, the first of which was back in January 2003, he has managed to raise more than 10,000 for St Catherine’s Hospice.

And despite having guns pointed at his head, facing avalanches and rock falls, the thrill-seeking doctor has no plans to give up climbing and wants to continue challenging himself.

“The next thing I want to do is try and climb some unclimbed peaks in Antarctica,” he said.

“I enjoy the team work which goes with climbing, but also the solitude of being on a climb. It is a real battle against the elements and you cannot beat the feeling of elation when you get down and have completed the climb. Getting to the top is only half way.”

Dr Sutcliffe, who lives in Sleights, conquered the first of his seven mountains, Aconcagua, in Argentina, in January 2003.

That year he also climbed Mount Vinson, in Antarctica and conquered Mount Denali, in Alaska, in 2005.

In 2006 Dr Sutcliffe climbed Everest and Kilimanjaro, before taking on Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe, earlier this year.

His final climb was Carstenz Pyramid, which he scaled last month, but not before being held at gun point for 11 hours on his way to the foot of the mountain, as reported in Friday’s Gazette.

“I spent my 43rd birthday sweating under the seat of a bus with a gun pointing at my head,” said Dr Sutcliffe.

Thankfully Dr Sutcliffe and his group made it to Carstenz Pyramid and went ahead with the four-day climb, which he described as the toughest he has ever done.

Reflecting on his amazing achievement of conquering the seven mountains, Dr Sutcliffe said: “I started this challenge back in 2003 and I am delighted to have finished it off.

“I am really pleased that I managed to climb them all first time.”

“And I guarantee the Whitby Gazette is the first newspaper in history to be photographed at the top of all seven mountains.”