Kicking off with Vinson in Antarctica in January 2018 and finishing on Everest in May, Project 7in4 will also include climbs on Aconcagua, South America; Kilimanjaro, Africa, Carstensz Pyramid, Australasia; Elbrus, Europe and Denali, North America.
Steve is aiming to complete the climbs in under 4 months which if successful will be a new world-record for completing the ‘7 summits’, beating the current record of 126 days.
Steve was inspired to take the challenge after a simple accident at Perth’s Cottesloe Beach in December 2014 that nearly left him paralysed for life.
After being dumped by a wave and driven head first into the sand, Steve lay partially paralysed, face-down in the water. Unable to breath, his initial concern was drowning. Fortunately, Steve’s life was saved by the quick work of Cottesloe Beach volunteer surf lifesavers Lara and Gary Matier and friend Dave Field.
He was rushed to hospital under full spinal precautions and eventually told he had sustained multiple unstable fractures at the C2, C3 & C7 vertebrae as well as a contorted spinal cord, ruptured disc, dissected arterial artery, torn ligaments and more.
The prognosis was initially very poor as Steve was told by doctor’s he may not regain full movement.
While spending an intensive time in the hospital and in a Halo brace, he committed himself to refusing the doctor’s diagnosis - he was determined to not only walk out of hospital but to go on to climb the 7 summits, and so Project 7in4 was born.
“Lying in a hospital bed with an uncertain prognosis was frustrating and frightening. I had never felt so weak or hopeless. But somewhere amongst all the self-pity, I made a promise to myself that I would come through this fitter and stronger than I was before.”
Less than a year on from the date of the accident, Steve completed his first practice run on New Zealand’s Mount Aspiring.
Steve’s ambitious 7 summits dream will push him to new physical limits and he plans to stay motivated by focusing on using Project 7in4 to raise funds and awareness for two organisations that have become very close to his heart since the accident.
“Prevention is better than cure and that is why I want to raise awareness for the work that volunteer surf lifesavers do in performing rescues and minimizing injury on beaches around Australia. But accidents will always happen. For that reason I also want to support and help raise funds for SpinalCure’s Project Edge program conducting cutting-edge research into spinal cord injury cure.”
More information can be found at www.project7in4.com
Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA) is the state’s peak coastal safety and rescue organisation with more than 20,000 members across 31 clubs, from Esperance to Broome.
Millions of people visit Western Australia’s beautiful beaches every year – but while they look amazing they can be unpredictable and hide some dangers. SLSWA provides essential education and emergency services to all users of West Australian beaches.
SpinalCure Australia is a leading not-for-profit that raises funds and awareness aimed at finding a cure for spinal cord injury. SpinalCure recently launched Project Edge, a research collaboration among world-leading neuroscientist Professor Reggie Edgerton at UCLA and the University of Technology Sydney to introduce neurostimulation research for spinal cord injury to Australia. The outcomes of Project Edge are expected to have a profound impact on the lives of the many thousands of Australians living with the devastating effects of a spinal cord injury.