Mountaineer becomes youngest Briton to scale Everest

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Impressive feat of human endurance takes young Edinburgh climber into the record books 

16th May 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A 26 year-old Edinburgh mountaineer has today (16 May) reached the summit of Mount Everest from its north side, making her the youngest ever British climber to accomplish the fabled peak.

Mollie Hughes’s feat not only makes her the youngest Briton but also the youngest European woman and the first English woman to successfully scale the peak from both the north and south sides of the world’s highest mountain.

With a £1 donation for every metre climbed, Hughes hopes to raise more than £8,000 funds for Cancer Research UK. 

She is being supported throughout the expedition by Tiso, the outdoor adventure specialist where she is an employee in Edinburgh and has been supporting British expeditions to Mount Everest since the 1970s.

In temperatures as low as minus 40C, Hughes reached the summit at 1.14am GMT (5.34am local time in Nepal) with climbing partner Jon Gupta.  

Relaying a brief message shortly after reaching the summit, Hughes commented: “I am elated, exhausted and know I still have the hardest part to do – the long and difficult descent to base camp.  Jon (Gupta) and I have already spent more than four weeks acclimatising on the mountain.  

“Thanks to a weather window, yesterday evening we left Camp 3 (8,300m) and we’ve finally reached the top. The climbing has been really, really hard but our mental and physical strength got us up here.  I can confirm that the north side is definitely more difficult than the south side.”

Hughes, who in 2012 summited Mount Everest from its south side at the age of 21, is 28 years younger than Lynne Hannah (Northern Ireland) who in 2016 and at the age of 54 became the first British woman to achieve ascents from both the north and south. In 1975, Junko Tabei (Japan) became the first female climber to summit the mountain that in 1953 was first officially climbed by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.

Prior to her record-breaking climb, Hughes had said: “To climb Mount Everest is an incredible experience; one that is also the ultimate test of your psychological resolve and ability to cope with physical suffering. The spectacular north side of the mountain will push us to the limit.

“I love climbing and adventurous activities.  Hopefully, my second expedition to Mount Everest will inspire other young women to realise that with careful planning and determination, challenges can be overcome and dreams achieved.”

Chris Tiso, CEO of Tiso Group and who was part of the 2000 Tiso expedition on which Polly Murray became the first Scottish woman to summit Mount Everest, commented: “Mollie Hughes is an inspirational young woman.  All at Tiso Group are very proud that she has reached the summit after a long and difficult climb and entered her name in the Everest record books.  It is a phenomenal achievement. 

“Of course, Mollie and Jon (Gupta) now face an equally daunting descent. All involved with the Tiso Return to Mount Everest 2017 Expedition wish them a safe return to base camp and look forward to welcoming Mollie home in early June.”

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