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Parks is rescued from an ice tomb; Third dice with death for our intrepid explorer.

Byline: Clare Hutchinson

EXPLORER Richard Parks has diced with death for a third time - after falling seven metres into a crevasse.

The former Wales international was on his way up North America's highest mountain, Denali, on Monday when he slipped and fell waist-deep into the icy chasm.

As he tried to free himself he fell a further seven metres, landing on his back in an underground cavern.

Luckily for the former Pontypridd and Perpignan flanker, another rope team was in the area and were able to help his climbing partner pull him back out.

A spokesman for the 737 Challenge said the 33-year-old was "wet but fine", adding: "Richard was crossing a crevasse and fell through the crossing up to his waist. On trying to free himself he fell into the crevasse, landing on his back.

"Normally you would cut the roof away and pulley out, but it was too dangerous for Matt, Richard's climbing partner, to do this. Luckily another rope team came along and were able to help get Richard out."

The former rugby player, who is attempting to raise pounds 1m for Marie Curie Cancer Care, continued his seven-hour climb up to the next camp, where he spent a day resting from his ordeal.

It is not the first time Parks has landed in trouble on his round-the-world adventure, in which he is trying to climb into the record books by conquering the highest peaks on the world's seven continents and trekking to both poles in a calendar year.

On his way to the North Pole in April, Parks fell eight feet down a steep ridge of ice, suffering concussion.

Then, on his way down Everest after reaching the summit on May 25, he contracted serious frost bite in his big toe.

Despite doctors warning him to rest, Parks announced last week he would continue with the last two stages of his challenge, which he needs to complete before warmer weather makes the mountains inaccessible.

If he reaches the 20,320ft summit of Denali, he will then move on to the last peak of his challenge, Mount Elbrus in Russia. * To sponsor Parks, visit www.737challenge.



* Richard Parks on Everest, May 2011

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 23, 2011
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