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War hero Terry battles freezing temperatures and severe gales in Argentina climb

23 December 2015

A war hero from Essex battled temperatures of -40C and 80km/h gales as he took on the highest mountain outside of Asia as part of a world record attempt.

Amputee Terry Byrne, a former paratrooper from Colchester, is part of a three-man team hoping to become the first disabled group to successfully complete the notorious Explorers Grand Slam.

To enter the record books, the trio must scale the highest peaks in seven continents, as well as walking to the North and South Pole unaided.

The latest leg of the Slam saw Terry and his teammates fly to Argentina to scale Aconcagua, a gruelling 6,960.8 metres climb.

Unfortunately, the particularly harsh conditions – some of the worst seen on the mountain in decades - meant that the team were forced to abandon the climb about two hours from the summit.

Terry, an assistant site manager at Persimmon Homes Essex, said: “It was an amazing trip but disappointing that we didn’t reach the summit. We made it to 6,600 metres and the top was in sight, but the winds meant it was just too dangerous to continue.

“It doesn’t matter how good your team is, if the conditions are against you then there is nothing you can do.

“We were surviving with virtually no sleep and the altitude made things very difficult. It was a certainly a stern test.

“It means that we will have to return to Argentina at some stage and reach the summit, but we have learnt a lot about the mountain, which is something we can take from it.”

Terry and the team have already scaled Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus, the highest peaks in Africa and Europe.

Next on Terry’s radar is a trip to the South Pole, probably next winter.

But for now the 31-year-old, who had to have part of his leg amputated after he stood on an improvised explosive device while serving with the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan in 2008, is just glad to be back in Essex.

“It’s nice to be back to family life for Christmas,” he said.

“I will take a bit of time out now, then it will be back to training and making preparations.”

Philip Standen, manging director at Persimmon Homes Essex, said: “We’re glad to have Terry back in work and in good health.

“It is a shame that they didn’t manage to make the summit but I know how determined Terry is and I am sure he will complete the Grand Slam.

“As a company we are keen to support him in any way we can.”

Persimmon has developments right across Essex, including in Frinton-on-Sea, Romford and East Tilbury.

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