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Stephen Bell - mountaineer

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If proof were needed that talent can be inherited, then Steve Bell is the living proof. His father, James, during the 1940's would often swing from the bars under the Ironbridge - this led to him climbing every church tower in Exeter, including the Cathedral and St Michaels, Dinham Road.

Steve Bell was born in 1959 in London - his family moved back to Exeter when he was four years old and he attended Whipton Barton Primary School. A move to Exmouth followed, when he was eight, and soon he too was showing the family talent for climbing with his first ascents of Hound Tor, Haytor and the seacliffs at Torbay. As he grew older, he joined the Exeter University Climbing Club and with student friends, did several first ascents around the region in the late 1970's. A natural progression was into the Alps where he gained a reputation for climbing the north faces of the Eiger and Matterhorn. These expeditions were not enough, and he went on to climb in the Himalayas, Alaska and Antarctica, before joining the Royal Marines. The Marines meant a move back to St Leonards, Exeter in 1986.

After the Marines, Steve moved to Sheffield to form the Jagged Globe company, which specialised in organising and leading commercial expeditions around the world. He also led the UK's first guided ascent of a 7000m peak in 1989, the first 8000m peak in 1991 and the first, and most successful commercial expedition to Everest in 1993, when he escorted 16 to the summit. Probably the toughest series of climbs on offer, the Seven Summits was achieved by Steve in 1997 - this requires climbing the highest mountain in each continent. In 2000, Steve published a book, Seven Summits, about the history of the challenge with contributions from those who have done it. He now lives in Australia with his wife and three children and visits Exeter most years to catch up with his old climbing companions. Jagged Globe is now one of the leading mountaineering companies in the world, giving those with the fitness and sense of adventure, the chance to achieve some of the toughest climbs in the world.

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