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A team of women in Nepal has achieved a mountaineering first, scaling seven of the world’s highest peaks on seven continents.
Their aim was to show other women in Nepal that climbing isn’t just a sport for men, so they set out on the quest in 2008, starting with Mount Everest in their own backyard. Their goal was realized in late December when four of the women made it to the top of Mount Vinson in Antarctica.
Today, the team returned home to a hero’s welcome. The team leader, Shailee Basnet, told reporters at the airport in Kathmandu, “A big journey that started seven years ago has finally culminated in a seventh climb, so, after years of saying one done, two done, three, four, five, we can now say: seventh climb!”
In six years the women scaled Everest in Asia, Kosciuszko in Australia, Elbrus in Europe, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Aconcagua in South America, Denali or McKinley in North America and Vinson in Antarctica.
The women climbed Mount McKinley in Alaska, the highest peak in North America at 20,237 feet. Photo by Flickr user mikep.
They scaled Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, South America’s highest peak at 22,841 feet. Photo by Flickr user Mandala Travel.
More than 4,000 people have scaled Mount Everest and more than half of them have been from Nepal, but of that number only 24 have been women. The first Nepalese woman to reach the summit, Pasang Lhamu, made it in 1993 but died on the descent.
The seven women financed their climbs with personal savings, sponsors and fund raising events.
Lorna Baldwin is an Emmy and Peabody award winning producer at the PBS NewsHour. In her two decades at the NewsHour, Baldwin has crisscrossed the US reporting on issues ranging from the water crisis in Flint, Michigan to tsunami preparedness in the Pacific Northwest to the politics of poverty on the campaign trail in North Carolina. Farther afield, Baldwin reported on the problem of sea turtle nest poaching in Costa Rica, the distinctive architecture of Rotterdam, the Netherlands and world renowned landscape artist, Piet Oudolf.
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