Saturday 16 December 2017

Youngest woman to climb Mount Everest reaches summit

Student Mollie Hughes, 21, from Bristol, who has become the youngest woman to climb Mount Everest
Student Mollie Hughes, 21, from Bristol, who has become the youngest woman to climb Mount Everest

Hannah Furness

A 21-year-old student has become the youngest woman ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Mollie Hughes, 21, made the gruelling ascent to nearly 30,000ft with a team of intrepid climbers in “near perfect” conditions.

She is now understood to be recovering at the base camp of the mountain, after spending a night at Camp 4; 12 hours below the summit at 26,247ft.

The jubilant student, from Bristol, wrote on her Twitter account yesterday: “Everything hurts, I feel like an old lady, but one that has climbed Everest sheeerting!”

Her mother Jane Spreckley, said she was incredibly proud of her daughter's achievements.

She said: "We're all beyond proud of Mollie. She's dedicated her life to today and has raised an incredible £2500 for her charity Action Aid.

"I still haven't managed to speak to Molly but the group radioed to base camp to say they had made it safely.

"We are extremely relieved to hear everything has gone well and she is fine - we can't wait to hear all about it."

Mollie, who is studying psychology and sports biology at the University of the West of England, has been preparing for the feat for the last year.

She set off from Bristol at the end of March, spending six weeks acclimatising and training in the area.

Her team set off from Everest’s base camp around May 14th, spending a day a Camp 2 before climbing to the Camp 3 on the Lhotse face of the mountain.

From there, she crossed the yellow band and Geneva spur and made a final camp at South Col.

Before the climb, Mollie said: "I'm feeling confident but a little bit apprehensive about the climb. We have had to wait more than a week for a weather window so we're about ready to attempt the climb."

At 29,028ft (8,848m) above sea level, the mountain is the highest on Earth and is viewed by many climbers as the pinnacle of the achievements.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has said previously: “"Mollie is a unique young lady with a genuine passion for adventure and achievement.

“I am proud to support her record attempt on Mount Everest and wish her every success on the mountain.”

Before her climb, Mollie wrote on her blog: “Taking on Mount Everest is a major sporting challenge incorporating months of tough physical training and a variety of warm up climbs, intended to gain further experience and test the capabilities of my body at extreme high altitude.

“To reach the summit of Mount Everest at 8,850m, I will need to spend almost two months on the mountain acclimatising as much as possible to the extreme altitude.

“The reduced levels of available oxygen on Mount Everest especially above 8,000m cause a major physiological and psychological demand on the body.

Her remarkable achievement comes as three other climbers were confirmed dead while attempting to climb the mountain, with their two companions still missing.

Nepalese Mountaineering Department official Gyanendra Shrestha said Monday that a German, a Nepal-born Canadian and a Korean died on Saturday while descending from the 29,035-foot summit.

Mr Shrestha said the weather was favourable on Friday and Saturday morning but a wind storm swept the mountain later on Saturday.

A member of Mollie’s team wrote on her Twitter account yesterday: “Just to let every1 know Mollie is safe at base camp, very sad 2 here the breaking news from Everest today!Sending love to every1 out there!”

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