A MAN from Gerrards Cross is to become one of the oldest people to climb Mount Everest when he attempts the feat next year.
Dr Barry Dalal-Clayton, 61, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development, is taking on the huge climb in 2012 to raise money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
If he reaches the summit, he will become only the second ever sexagenarian, after Sir Ranulph Fiennes, to have climbed to the top of Everest, which is the highest mountain in the world.
He said: "It will be a massive challenge. I am keen climber, and have reached the top of Snowdon, Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, but this will be the toughest challenge by far. I'm hoping to raise money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust. When I was a boy, my father used to tell me about the time he spent in the Second World War, where he worked alongside the Gurkhas. He admired them a lot, and that is what inspired me to give to their cause."
Dr Dalal Clayton has now started a rigorous training regime, which will see him climbing Snowdon and Mont Blanc again as well as Mansalu in Nepal, to help him get into shape for the Everest trek.
He said: "It will be a very tough training period, but I'm looking forward to starting it. It should be a lot of fun, as well being difficult. It's obviously a huge challenge to climb Everest, but it's something I've always wanted to do, so it's great to have that chance."
Dr Dalal Clayton is deaf in his left ear, and has tried wearing hearing aids to combat the problem, but says that his Everest trip would not have been possible wearing a conventional one. He has now been fitted with a new device, called the Lyric, which fits directly into the ear canal, close to the ear drum.
It means that he is able to wear all the correct headgear for mountain climbing without dislodging the ear piece.
He said: "It's allowed me to climb Everest, and so far I'm very impressed with it. It's making things a lot easier for me, and I'm now looking forward to getting my training underway."