AN INTREPID Ealing accountant is planning to endure one of the harshest environments known to man in order to raise £20,000 for charity.

Scott McNaughton, 31, from Ealing, will brave minus-60-degrees temperatures and the dreaded "death zone" when he attempts to climb Mount Everest next May.

The trek is on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Relief and Children in Crisis.

Scott, who works for BDO Stoy Hayward, is a keen mountaineer and has been undertaking gruelling stamina-building training sessions in the Welsh countryside to prepare for the trip.

He said: "I am an accountant on the outside and mountaineer on the inside. This climb is an important achievement for me personally and I also want to do this to give something back to my chosen charities."

After a family friend died of cancer this year, Scott became committed to raising the money.

He said: "As I began doing more and more in the mountains I realised there was potential to do something big and that I could make a difference. I have seen first hand the impact of cancer, not just on the patient but the wider families and friends and I value work done by Macmillan and want to help them today and in future."

The money will also go to Children in Crisis, an international children's charity.

Mark McKeown, chief executive of Children in Crisis, said: "Having trekked in the Everest region, I know how tough this type of challenge will be. We all greatly admire Scott, for attempting this challenge and setting such an impressive fundraising target. We are incredibly grateful and wish Scott the best of luck."

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- Everest's summit sticks up into the jetstream hurricane force winds that flow high in the Earth's atmosphere.

- There is only 33 per cent of sea-level oxygen at the summit. One of the reasons a summit attempt takes so long is that acclimatisation is a slow and painful process.

- Climbers enter the death zone at 8,000metrescclimatise. The levels of oxygen are too low to sustain life for long. Climbers use supplementary oxygen, at increasing flow rates, from around 7,000m m. Problems above 8,000m aren't worth thinking about.

- In January the summit temperature averages about minus 36 degrees Celsius and can drop as low as minus 60 degrees.

- Statistically, for every ten people who summit, one dies