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Mollie, 26, in historic Everest bid

Written by Fiona

February 07 2017

Mollie Hughes, a 26 year-old British climber, hopes to make Everest history in May when she climbs Mount Everest for the second time. If successful the Edinburgh-based and Devon-born climber will become the youngest Briton, the youngest European woman and the first English woman to scale the world’s highest peak (8848m) from both the north and south sides.

Lynne Hannah  from Northern Ireland was the first British woman at the age of 54 to achieve both Everest ascents last year. In 1975, Junko Tabei, of Japan, became the first female climber to summit the mountain that in 1953 was first officially climbed by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.

Mollie prepares to cross the Khumbu ice-fall on her first summit of Everest.

Climber Mollie’s inspiration

Mollie started climbing at secondary school and at the age of 17 summited Mount Kenya (Africa’s second highest peak). In 2012 she summited Everest from its south side. She will be joined on her latest expedition by sherpas and the experienced climber, Jon Gupta of Mountain Expeditions.

Tiso, the outdoor adventure specialist where Mollie is an employee and which staged a successful expedition to Mount Everest in 2000, is the main supporter of her latest expedition. She will be raising funds for Cancer Research UK.

Mollie was first inspired to climb Mount Everest when she interviewed seven Everest summiteers as part of a sports psychology degree at UWE Bristol. She learned then of their different psychological experiences on the mountain.  She now also has first-hand experience of the fears and challenges presented by Everest.

She said: “To climb Mount Everest is an incredible experience and one that is also the ultimate test of your psychological resolve and ability to cope with physical suffering.

“After over two years of preparation, training is going well and I am really excited to be climbing with Jon Gupta. I am also hugely appreciative to have the invaluable financial and technical support of Tiso for an ascent of the spectacular north side of the mountain.

“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.”

Mt Everest. Pic credit: Rdevany

Mount Everest records

1924: British climbers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine attempt summit from the north side. it is unknown if they ever made the summit

1953: Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary – first climbers confirmed to reach summit

1960: Chinese team claim to make first summit from north side of Everest

1975: Junko Tabei (Japan) is the first woman to summit Mount Everest

1975: First ascent of south-west face of Everest by a British team led by Sir Chris Bonington. Doug Scott and the late Dougal Haston reach the summit

1988: Lydia Bradey (NZ) makes first female ascent without supplemental oxygen

1993: Rebecca Stephens becomes the first British woman to climb Mount Everest

1995: The late Alison Hargreaves becomes the second British woman to climb Everest, ascending alone via the north ridge

1999: Kathy O’Dowd (South Africa) becomes the first woman at the age of 31 to climb Everest from both the south col (1996) and north col (1999)

2000: Polly Murray is the first Scottish woman to summit Mount Everest

2012: Leanna Shuttleworth (England) and 19 years old becomes the youngest British woman to summit Mount Everest

2012: Mollie Hughes (England) summits Mount Everest from the south side aged 21

2016: Lynne Hannah (Northern Ireland), 54, becomes the first British woman to summit Mount Everest from both the south (2009) and north (2016).

Climbing Everest’s north side

While many climbers choose to ascend from the south, the north route from a base camp in Tibet, China, is claimed to expose the mountaineers to colder and windier conditions. This route includes an arduous and psychologically testing final day of ascent over three prominent rocky steps on the northeast ridge. All are negotiated at an altitude of more than 8,500 metres (28,000ft) in the so-called “death zone”.

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, believes Mollie can achieve her dream. He said: “A talented and focused climber, Mollie is an inspirational young woman.  I am very proud that Tiso will be returning to Mount Everest in support of Mollie Hughes Everest 2017 bid for which she is making meticulous preparation. All at Tiso Group wish her a safe and successful expedition.”

In addition to support from Tiso Group, Hughes is receiving help from the philanthropist Kae Tinto Murray, from Osprey Backpacks and the engineering firm ch2m. Mollie Hughes, Everest 2017 expedition also hopes to raise thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK.

For further information about Mollie Hughes Everest 2017 expedition, see: www.tiso.com/everest and Mollie Hughes.

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