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Peter Hillary completes climb of seven summits

Adventurer Peter Hillary yesterday climbed North America's Mt McKinley to complete his conquest of the highest peaks on all seven continents, a feat he dedicated to his late father Sir Edmund Hillary.

Sir Edmund - the first man to climb Mt Everest - died in Auckland on January 11.

His son's Alaskan climb was the last in his series of the highest summits on seven continents.

"After the last six months of incredible memorials and farewells to my father it provided me with an opportunity to go back to where it all started: in the mountains that inspired us both," Hillary said.

"Completing the seven summits has been my salute to my father."

His comments, by satellite phone while on the mountain, were relayed by his wife, Yvonne Oomen, in a statement.

He reached the summit of 6194m Mt McKinley at 4am, on June 17 after a six-hour climb in brutally cold conditions.

He estimated it was minus 40degC with a 55km/h wind.

Mt McKinley (also known as Denali) is near the Arctic circle , and experiences extremes of temperature.

The seven summits are the highest peaks on each of the seven continents, and to complete them all is a goal of many top mountaineers.

Hillary's list was regarded as the hardest seven, as it included Carstenz Pyramid in Irian Jaya, the portion of Papua occupied by Indonesia, rather than a tramp up 2228m Mt Kosciuszko in Australia.

He started his seven summits with Mt Everest, which he climbed twice, in 1990 and 2002.

He climbed:

1. Everest: 8848m Nepal/Tibet (1990, 2002)

2. Aconcagua: 6961m Argentina, South America (1991)

3. Vinson Massif: 4897m Ellsworth Range, Antarctica (1992)

4. Carstenz Pyramid: 4883m Indonesia, Oceania (1995)

5. Kilimanjaro: 5895m Tanzania, Africa (2005)

6. Elbrus: 5633m Russia, Europe (2006)

7. McKinley: 6194m Alaska, North America (2008)

- NZPA

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