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AFTER being forced to cancel his latest Himilayan expedition and returned to Australia, mountaineer Andrew Lock has vowed to summit Mt Sjishapangma by the end of the year.

Lock, one of the world's foremost mountaineers and this country's most successful high altitude climber, was unable to get the necessary permit to enter Tibet in May to begin his final expedition, delaying his plans to become the first Australian to summit all 14 of the world's peaks over 8000 metres.

It was to be Lock's third attempt at Mt Shishapangma (8027 metres) and the final summit in a 15-year project to climb all of the world's "death zone'' peaks - those in the oxygen-starved heights above 8000 metres. He was obviously disappointed but vowed not to give up.

"I did everything I could to be ready at the right time but the necessary permissions just didn't come. I delayed the expedition twice but, in the end, it just got too late in the season to risk an ascent. The window when conditions are right for the summit is really tight and, if you miss that, you have to come back another time," said Lock.

The 46-year-old had already spent two weeks trekking and acclimatising in the Khumbu (Everest) region in Nepal and another two weeks preparing equipment and buying food for his expedition. He will now plan for an ascent later in the year.

"Post-monsoon, around September, is the next climbing opportunity and so preparations begin again. I am determined to complete my campaign to summit all fourteen '8000ers'," said Lock.

Michael Milton and his wife Penni Lewer threw their support behind Andrew when they learned of his extraordinary career last year. They will liaise with media leading up to and during his expedition in the hope of raising his profile.

"We couldn't believe noone had heard of Andrew, including us. He's an amazing guy and a great speaker with an incredible history of success. The guy's still got all his fingers and toes," exclaimed Michael.

To book Andrew to speak at your event or to talk about sponsoring his next expedition, contact Penni at or call 0411 879154.

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