An Adelaide mother-of-three has become the first woman in the world to complete the death-defying Seven-Seven challenge. Mountaineer Katie Sarah has now summited not only the highest mountain on every continent, but also the seven highest volcanic peaks – a feat referred to in mountaineering as the ‘Seven-Seven’. The 49-year-old became the eighth person to join the elite – previously men’s only – club when she successfully summitted Mount Sidley in Antarctica on January 14.
Sherpa belongs to the Himalayan ethnic group that has become synonymous with mountain guiding thanks to their reputation for being strong climbers with a natural tolerance for the lack of oxygen at high altitudes. But in Nepal home to eight of the world’s highest mountains — climbing remains a man’s job. “This is a challenging field, even more so if you are a girl. There were people who said this is not a girl’s job, that I won’t get work or (asked) what will I do if I have kids,” Sherpa said.
According to statistics maintained by the Department of Tourism, a total of 323 women have climbed Mt Everest from the Nepali side till 2016 since Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei stood on the summit of the highest mountain on earth in 1975. Between 2006 and 2016, Mt Everest has seen successful summit of 260 women mountaineers. This shows growing fascination of women mountaineers toward Mt Everest. In nearly three decades before 2006, only 63 women reached the summit of Mt Everest.
Hargreaves wasn’t just breaking new ground in her sport; she was forging a trail socially as well. “[Hargreaves] was a trailblazer, because she climbed Everest alone without any [supplemental] oxygen while breaking down social constructs of what it means to be a mom,” says author and filmmaker Molly Schiot, who profiled Hargreaves in her 2016 book, Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History.
On Sunday, the 31-year-old became the first woman to send a 5.15b grade. She bested the La Planta de Shiva climb, which is located in Villanueva Del Rosario, Andalucia, Spain. Before her historic climb, the route had only been finished by men — and only a handful of them at that. Eiten was obviously stoked and took to her Instagram, saying it was "One of the most memorable days of my life."