Phunjo Lama Smashes Women's Record for Fastest Ascent of Everest

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Phunjo Lama Smashes Women's Record for Fastest Ascent of Everest

KATHMANDU: Phunjo Lama smashed the record for the fastest ascent of Mount Everest by a woman, conquering the world's highest mountain in 14 hours and 31 minutes on Thursday.

According to AFP, climbers usually take days to reach the top of the 8,849-metre (29,000-foot) mountain, spending nights on its different camps to rest and acclimatise. But Lama, who is in her thirties, shaved more than 11 hours off the previous best that had stood since 2021.

"She started (from the base camp) at 15:52 on May 22, summited 6:23 am May 23," Khim Lal Gautam, chief of the tourism's department field office at the base camp, told AFP.

Earlier this month, when Lama was still at base camp, she said in a post on Facebook that she was "100 percent sure" she would reach the top of "the Mother Goddess".

In 2018, Lama clinched the record for the fastest ascent by a woman by climbing Everest in 39 hours and six minutes, AFP reported.

That record was broken in 2021 by Ada Tsang Yin-hung from Hong Kong, who conquered the mountain in 25 hours and 50 minutes.

Nepali climber Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa holds the record for the fastest ascent of Everest, reaching the summit in 10 hours and 56 minutes in 2003.

According to AFP, Lama is also a guide and helicopter long-line rescuer -- a job that entails flying in while dangling from a rope to help extract injured climbers when the terrain is too dangerous for aircraft to come in close or land.

She has climbed some of the highest peaks in the world, including Manaslu and Cho Oyu, both also in the Himalayas.

"She is very courageous and determined... and trained hard for her summit," AFP quoted fellow woman mountaineer Maya Sherpa as saying.

"Her record is an inspiration for other Nepali female climbers."

More than 500 climbers and their guides have already reached the summit of Everest this year after a rope-fixing team reached the peak last month, according to the news report published by AFP.

Nepal is home to eight of the world's 10 highest peaks and welcomes hundreds of adventurers each spring, when temperatures are warm and winds typically calm, it added.

“Last year, more than 600 climbers made it to the summit of Everest, but it was also the deadliest season on the mountain, with 18 fatalities.”


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