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Homechevron_rightSportschevron_rightPhunjo Lama climbs...

Phunjo Lama climbs Mount Everest in 14 hrs and 30 mts, sets new record

Phunjo Lama

Phunjo Lama from Nepal has set a new record for the fastest female ascent of Mount Everest, completing the climb in an impressive 24 hours and 26 minutes.

Lama began her ascent on May 23rd at 3:52 PM and reached the summit by 6:23 AM, spending 14 hours and 31 minutes climbing to the peak, followed by a nine-hour and 18-minute descent.

Everest's harsh conditions and limited climbing season create a narrow window for ascents, often resulting in long lines of climbers. Lama chose a nighttime climb to avoid the crowds, estimating that around 6,700 people were between Camps Two and Four on May 21st and 22nd. By the morning of May 24th, she encountered only "60 or 70" climbers.

Strict record-keeping for Everest ascents begins at Base Camp, a crucial step for acclimatizing to the altitude. Phunjo Lama spent three weeks acclimatizing before her record-breaking climb, accompanied by her climbing partner Samantha McMahon. McMahon aims to become the first Australian woman to conquer all 8,000-meter peaks.

Standing at 8,849 meters (29,032 feet), Mount Everest is a formidable challenge.

This climb marked Lama's second attempt at the summit, having previously set the record in 2018 with a time of 39 hours and six minutes, according to Guinness World Records, which includes the entire round trip from Base Camp. However, her record was broken in 2021 by Hong Kong's Ada Tsang, who completed the climb in 25 hours and 50 minutes. The current fastest ascent record for men is held by Nepali climber Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa, who reached the top in 10 hours and 56 minutes in 2003.

Lama downplays the pursuit of records and recognition, noting that someone else submitted her 2018 record to Guinness World Records on her behalf. Growing up in Nepal's remote Tsum Valley at 4,500-5,000 meters above sea level, Lama's background likely contributed to her natural ability to thrive at high altitudes. Initially speaking only a local dialect, she learned Nepali and English after moving to Kathmandu as a teenager.

"Mountains are my playground and my home," she told CNN. "A mountain never says that you are a woman and you are a man. Which is why I like mountains, because a mountain is always equal."

As a mountaineering guide, Lama noted that her climbing clients are about 75% male and 25% female, but she hopes to see this ratio become fifty-fifty in the future.

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TAGS:Mount EverestPhunjo Lama
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