AN ADVENTUROUS North-East father-of-two has made it to the summit of the world's highest mountain.

Self-employed heating engineer Steve Graham, from Darlington, reached the summit of Everest at 11.22am on Wednesday, with his family receiving the news via a satellite telephone text message.

His wife Hollie told The Northern Echo: "We're ecstatic – absolutely speechless to know that he's made it."

Hollie told of the moment she received an unexpected text from a satellite phone, confirming that Steve's party had reached the peak at just over 29,000 feet.

"We weren't expecting direct contact but, out of the blue, there was a text from another member of the party saying they'd reached the summit and that everyone was safe," she said.

"Then there was another message from Steve, sending his love, and saying he would speak to us when they got back to base camp on Friday. We're dumbfounded and still in a state of shock but we won't relax completely until we've spoken to him and know that everything is OK because there's still a risk of frostbite."

Steve, 45, an experienced mountaineer, is raising money for St Teresa's Hospice and Prostate Cancer UK, and is carrying a flag bearing the logos of the charities as well as three Darlington primary schools that have supported him – Mowden, Abbey and Reid Street.

Steve, who lives in Mowden, has already conquered many of the world's highest mountains, including Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, McKinley, Elbrus, Vinson, Carstensz Pyramid, and Mt Blanc in the Alps.

His ultimate aim is to climb the highest mountains on each of the seven continents and he has adopted the nick-name "Seven Summit Steve".

Steve, who has two sons – Sam, 16, and Max, nine – set off for Everest on March 25 with an expedition team from the Jagged Globe organisation.

By Wednesday night, the party had descended safely to Camp Four and then Camp Three. On Thursday they will make their way to Camp Two, then Camp One and aim to reach Base Camp by Friday.

A family cocktail party is planned in Darlington on Saturday, with Hollie saying: "We're just all so proud of him so we plan to get together to celebrate and toast his achievement."

Jane Bradshaw, Chief Executive of St Teresa's Hospice, said: "We are so thrilled to hear the news. Steve is an amazing supporter of the hospice and his fundraising has both raised awareness and will be helping us to continue our care.

"We have followed him every step of the way and wish him a safe journey home. We look forward to welcoming Steve into our elite explorers club."

Steve's progress can be followed on Instagram by searching for "7summitsteve". To make a donation to his charities, go to