ANNABELLE BOND NEEDS challenges. The daughter of the former HSBC chairman Sir John Bond became the first woman to climb the highest mountains on each continent, scaling the 'seven summits' in under 360 days. She also did it wearing pink lipstick. Just 10 years ago, Bond was a director at FPD Savills in Hong Kong but had a life-changing moment after running the MacLehose Trail (a 100km hike in the New Territories). Since then the self-confessed ditzy blonde and former 'it' girl has become something of a pin-up for endurance sports. She has been hailed as the Anna Kournikova of mountaineering by one newspaper and feted as a female role model by magazines from Vogue to Hot Lips. 'I did lots of sport at school but didn't know I had the endurance thing in me until I did the MacLehose Trail,' says the 37-year-old. 'I found out I was very good at it. I could just keep running. I think the whole process started there. And I thought, 'What next?'' The answer lay in the mountains. 'I'd been trying hard to break into a new career that allowed me to combine my love of travel and sports. I had worked relentlessly on getting an edgy adventure travel TV show going and had just returned from filming a pilot in the Alps. I arrived back home to find my mother extremely excited - she had met a Chilean banker at a farewell dinner and she had arranged for me to climb Mount Everest!' says Bond. 'When I told Dad he just said, 'Have fun at base camp, darling.' I think he was as surprised as I was when I made it to base camp three. ' Some of the hardest parts of climbing, Bond says, are the logistics and fundraising. 'I pretty much raised my own funding for the seven summits. It's incredibly hard to get sponsorship for mountaineering - it's dangerous and companies don't want to be associated with tragic accidents. For the seven summits I was in charge of my own destiny - turnaround times, when I climbed where, at what speed. 'The seven summits was exhausting, but I had great help with the firm Adventure Consultants. I had them on some of the mountains, but on the easier climbs, like Kilimanjaro and Elbrus and Kosciuszko, I took friends. For most ascents there were three of us - three in a two-man tent. I spent five months of the year in a tent. It gets you down, but you keep going.' So what keeps her going? 'Determination. You set yourself little goals and overcome them one by one. There were millions of times I wanted to give up. It's hard considering it lasted 360 days but focus is important. Doing it for charity helps. When you achieve one small goal, it drives you on to the next. Everest is a massive entity but once you break it down into short little steps, it's very possible.' Was Everest her hardest trip? 'No. That was Aconcagua in Argentina. I had done back-to-back summits and the strain of the logistics and remoteness of the mountain only gave me a day's rest. It was a speed ascent, too - in three weeks. I collapsed at the summit. I was shattered. That's when you are susceptible to frostbite. I got a bad case in my toes. I was in a terrible state, but I managed to get down and get to hospital. I still have all my toes, thank God.' Her worst-ever experience was while climbing Denali, in Alaska. 'We found two people from a neighbouring team lying dead next to our camp. We had talked to them only a few days before. They had fallen 2,000ft [600 metres] down the Denali Pass. It had a profound effect on me.' The North Pole was perhaps her best-organised expedition. 'Not surprising when you trek with royalty. Still, Prince Albert was just one of us, a down-to-earth guy. You have to be in those conditions. Everyone eats the same food, does the same things. Actually, the food was organised by Alain Ducasse, the man behind all those Michelin-star restaurants, but it still resembled dog food. I lost weight on that expedition because I kept feeding it to the dogs because I felt sorry for them.' It was not all luxury. 'I was being thrown off the sledge about seven times a day. People think sledging is easy; it isn't when you are trying to keep control of a 100kg sledge racing over pack ice. Sometimes the ice is two metres high and negotiating that is very hard.' Bond is experiencing a bit of an endurance lull at present, although she is not putting her feet up. She is off to Africa to do charity work and is writing a book about her seven-summit adventures. Bond was set to run the Atacama Crossing, a gruelling 250km desert race in Chile, but pulled out on race day due to illness. 'My sister Lucy and friend Sissel Smaller still won the women's race, though - a triumph for two blondes, not three. Lucy is a great example of what women can do. Having kids is no obstacle. It shows women are capable of everything. Men have more physical resources, but women are mentally hardy, and that is just as important.' Will she become even more durable if she has children. 'One day. I'm 37, but I haven't found the right person yet ... but I will.' Sounds like a new challenge.