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Parks rescued from 7m crevasse on his latest mountain challenge.

EXPLORER Richard Parks fell seven metres into a crevasse on the latest stage of his 737 Challenge.

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 travelling on a well-trodden route crossing a crevasse on the Alaskan mountain some way between base camp and 11,000ft camp.

"Richard fell through the crossing up to his waist. On trying to free himself he fell in to the crevasse landing on his back.

"The rope cut back through the snow so he could not climb out.

"Normally you would cut the roof away in these circumstances and pulley out but it was too dangerous for Matt, Richard's climbing partner, to do this - a very difficult situation to get out of.

"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.

On his way down Everest after reaching the summit on May 25, Parks 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.com/donate

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 23, 2011
Words:338
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