WEDNESDAY could be D-Day for two Hampshire adventurers as they reach the climax of their epic challenges.

Mountaineer Rhys Jones will be bidding to reach the summit of Mount Everest on May 17, the date of his 20th birthday.

The New Forest teenager is looking to set two records as the youngest Briton to climb the world's tallest mountain, and the youngest person ever to climb the seven continents' seven highest peaks.

Just as Rhys will be striving to stand atop the summit of Everest at 29,035ft, so Southampton's Dee Caffari will be at sea-level hoping to cross the finish line at the end of her 28,000-mile epic voyage aboard the 72ft Challenge Class yacht, Aviva.

Dee, 33, will become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world against the prevailing winds and currents. Her westabout route is one of the toughest tests in the sporting world - a slower and more uncomfortable sail.

Both challenges are heavily dependent on weather and conditions, but if all goes to plan the two explorers could be on top of the world this week - one in the English Channel, the other atop the Himalayas.

For Rhys, he has spent the weekend at Base Camp preparing for the summit bid. He and the climbing team have been working the route up Everest and acclimatising to the extreme altitude. They have just returned from Camp Three at 23,500ft to Base Camp at 17,500ft for the final assault.

Rhys, who lives in Bartley and is hoping to raise £29,035 for Wessex Heartbeat, said: "We are fully acclimatised and just waiting for the good weather. We are pretty strong as a team. We will be well rested, well fed and well hydrated and ready to give it our best shot."

Also climbing Everest is Adrian Hayes from Woodlands, near Ashurst in the New Forest, who is climbing with the Ice8000 expedition team.

Meanwhile, Dee Caffari is heading up the Bay of Biscay with her goal of reaching the English Channel at the end of her epic solo challenge.

The Sholing-based sailor is on course to cross the finish line between Ushant in France and the Lizard in Cornwall, sometime between Wednesday and Saturday. She will then make her way to Ocean Village in Southampton for a spectacular homecoming.