Daily Archives: August 22, 2012

Now Why Didn’t I Think of That?

She’s the oldest woman in the world to climb the highest mountain on every continent.
World beating mountain woman

Photo – via Coast Radio NZ

At the age of 50 Carol Masters set a goal to climb the highest mountains on each continent ..  And what prompted this goal? In her words  “When I turned 50, my life fell apart. Within 18 months, I lost a job I loved, I learned the man I loved was involved with someone else, my mother died, and my own health deteriorated.  To cope with grief, anger and stress, I went to the Bolivian Andes for high-altitude mountaineering training, summitting (sic)  seven peaks over 17,000 feet. I found I was a pretty good at it, and felt my best in the mountains.”
‘It led me to later climb Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world in China in 2005. I could see the summit of Everest from the summit and thought: “I don’t want to die without knowing whether I could climb Everest because I didn’t try.”‘
On March 17 2012 at the age of 65 she reached the summit of Australia’s Mount Kosciuszko and so reaching her goal in just over five years. The marathon wasn’t without mishap – she went blind for 10 hours descending Mount Everest, but this is one determined woman!
“I should be learning how to knit and play bridge and doing things that are more age appropriate to people my age, but that’s just not me,’ Carol told the media.
Carol is in the process of having her record validated and will take the record currently held by Kay LeClaire who completed the feat aged 60.
So why didn’t I think of doing that?  Because I have never had any desire to be  a mountain climber and don’t know what attracts men ad women to scale these lofty heights.  But I am in awe of their perseverance and applaud them for their effort.
As a New Zealander I am still proud of Sir Edmund Hilary’s achievement in being the first man to climb Mt Everest.  In 1953 he and his Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed as having reached the summit of Mount Everest.  And he is reported as saying to another climber about reaching the summit “We knocked the bastard off”  What an understatement.
Of course since that time Everest has been climbed so many times that it no longer makes the news.  And now there are guided climbs to the peak.  What a difference 50 plus years makes.