In 2014 local Aussie fella Steve Plain was at the beach on any ordinary summer's day. An incoming wave dumped him hard on the sand, not an unusual occurrence for most of us and not usually an incident worth a second thought. As he tried to resurface, however, Steve realised that he couldn't move.
He'd broken his neck, a near-fatal fracture that surely would have seen him drown. He didn't, however, as he was pulled from the water by two volunteer surf lifesavers. Despite a second start, he was still told he would unlikely ever regain movement in his body.
Four years later, and the man is on his way to reaching the summits of the world's seven highest peaks. Having already ticked off the first six, those being found in Antarctica, Argentina, Tanzania, Papua, Elbrus in Europe, and recently Denali, Steve is currently flying into Kathmandu to finish with the holy grail of summits - Mount Everest.
His challenge, dubbed Project7in4 is raising funds for charities while simultaneously allowing him to tick off a world record, a record which only four years ago was supposedly impossible.
“Lying in a hospital bed with an uncertain prognosis after my accident was frustrating and frightening. I had never felt so weak or hopeless,” Steve told Natgeo. “I made the decision not to accept the doctor’s diagnosis and managed to overcome significant spinal injury to walk again but others are not as lucky.”
“My goal is to raise awareness and funds for the organisations providing vital assistance to these people. SpinalCure Australia is funding some world-first neuroscience research using neurostimulation to give life-changing benefits to people currently living with spinal cord injuries. Through Project 7in4, I hope to drive enough donations so they can continue their work,” Plain said.
The current record for conquering all seven peaks in the shortest amount of time is 126 days, that's a staggering window of just under 4 months, a huge feat even just considering the logistics of such a task, let alone the climbing. Steve estimated he'd complete his challenge by April this year.
According to his live tracker on the Project7in4 website, he's scheduled to arrive at Everest base camp on April 17, and hopefully complete his summit before the month's out.
Watch this space for updates on the man's success.