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Icelander Aims for Everest Summit

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Icelander Aims for Everest Summit

Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir with Mt. Lhotse in the background.

Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir. Archive photo. Photo: Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir.

Icelandic mountaineer Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir is at the base camp of Mt Everest, aiming for the summit, mbl.is reports. This will be her third attempt at climbing the world’s highest mountain, 8,848 m (29,029 ft), but her previous attempts in 2014 and 2015 were cut short in the wake of natural disasters on the mountain, which claimed a record number of lives.

Sixteen people were killed in an avalanche in the Khumbu glacial tongue in 2014 and 19 lost their lives when an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 triggered an avalanche on the peak Pumori. The avalanche fell on the base camp in the southern slopes of Mt Everest. Vilborg Arna was on the mountain when both disasters occurred.

“I had little interest in climbing once I returned back home, as is maybe the case when people experience such a thing. But I am and always will be a mountain climber at heart, and little by little, the desire returned,” Vilborg told mbl.is. “I returned here last fall to find out if I was ready to take on this task, and that turned out to be the case.”

Since then, she has worked night and day to prepare for the expedition, which formally began on April 11, when she arrived again in the camp.

“It sure is harder to get going for the third time, especially after what happened, but I knew I’d find it harder not to try,” Vilborg explained. “That’s why I’ve systematically been facing the fear and trying to foresee how to take on certain factors.” This time, she has emphasized mental preparation and also worked in the gym.

Vilborg will climb the mountain on her own with the assistance of a local by the name of Tenjee Sherpa. He has worked on the mountain for a few years. Vilborg will carry her own gear. Her altitude adjustment phase is over for now, but it aims at preparing the climber for the high altitude with practice hikes higher and higher up the mountain each day.

Once the weather is favorable, the climb from the base camp to the summit will take four days. Vilborg estimates being able to reach the summit close to the middle of the month.

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