Norwegian climber becomes fastest woman to summit all 8000m mountains

Harila during her 2022 expedition.
Harila during her 2022 expedition. Copyright Kristin Harila
By Sudesh Baniya
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Kristin Harila beat the previous record set by a Spanish climber, but now she is aiming to climb all 14 peaks much faster, in just one season.

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Norwegian climber Kristin Harila became the fastest woman to climb all mountains above 8000 metres this week, summiting Cho Oyu – the last remaining mountain on her list.  

Harila climbed the world's sixth-highest peak just a week after she stood atop of Shishapangma, the fourteenth-highest mountain on 26 April. 

Seven Summit Treks, a Nepalese company managing Harila's expedition, confirmed that the Norwegian reached the summit at 11:35am local time on Wednesday. 

“Kristin is now the fastest woman to successfully climb all 14 peaks above 8,000 metres,” Thaneshwor Guragain, manager of Seven Summit Treks, told The Kathmandu Post. 

The current official record is held by Spanish climber Edurne Pasaban Lizarribar, who achieved the feat in eight years and three months in 2010. 

In an audio message from the mountain, Harila said she feels more excited and grateful than ever after the ascent. 

"It was very hard and I'm tired after 13 to 14 hours of climb," the climber said, mentioning difficult weather conditions and constant wind made it harder to reach the top. 

Harila climbed 12 peaks in 2022, setting a world record by becoming the fastest female to climb Mount Everest and Lhotse in less than twelve hours. 

Despite coming close to beating the all-time record for climbing all 14 peaks above 8000 metres in a season, her permit request to climb two remaining mountains was rejected by the Chinese authorities. 

"I think the biggest disappointment wasn’t about the record, it was about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to complete something that I had set my mind to," she said after the 2022 project. 

Harila's recent summits are a part of the "She Moves Mountains Expedition," a re-start of the incomplete mission of 2022. The expedition started with mountains in Tibet this time to avoid the permit-related hassle and will continue to the mountains located in Nepal. 

The project is aiming to beat current record holder Nirmal Purja's time of six months and six days to ascend all 14 eight-thousanders. The former UK Special Forces soldier achieved the feat in 2019, a project that would later be turned into the Netflix documentary '14 Peaks'. 

Harila plans to follow suit and is accompanied by Sherpas, Ngima Rita Sherpa and Tenjen Sherpa, as well as Matias Myklebust from Field Productions who is filming her journey in Tibet and on the mountains.

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