This spring sees an unprecedented number of young, British females attempting to climb and break records on Everest. Over the next few days, we will be talking to three of the young women in question, and also getting some comments from the girl whose record they are trying to break, T&M’s own Bonita Norris.
We start with 20-year old Beck Bellworthy, who is making her second attempt on Everest in May/June, after succumbing to Acute Mountain Sickness last season having reached a high of Camp 2. Becky is hoping to leave for Kathmandu on the 30th April, and is climbing with Rob Casserley and several other Brits, on an expedition lead by Henry Todd.
So what gave Becky the idea in the first place to attempt Everest? “My decision to climb Everest was a very spontaneous one whilst on a trek in Nepal for my Duke of Edinburgh Gold award three years ago. Walking out of an Everest museum someone said to me ‘I just don’t know why anyone would want to climb Everest, I can’t see the appeal to it’. ‘I can’, I said, and from that moment I guess I never really looked back. Having never climbed a mountain before, my sights were set on Everest.”
With criticism coming from some quarters about the number of young people climbing 8000m peaks – and especially in the wake of 15-year old Jordan Romero’s (successful) attempt at the Seven Summits, there could be more raised eyebrows over this season’s crop of young hopefuls. However, with an ascent of Baruntse (7129m) under her belt, as well as the experience of being on Everest for the first time last year, Becky perhaps can feel less under scrutiny that some others.
She also has an ongoing and comprehensive training programme in place: “I have been training for nearly three years now, mainly through cycling, swimming, running and working in the gym, but also doing lots of rock climbing and bouldering. It’s been a tricky to fit it all in with university! Mountaineering-wise, my biggest previous expedition was on Baruntse where I became the youngest ever female to summit, but I also think my experiences on Everest last year will really benefit me this year.”
You can find out more about Becky and follow her progress via the link below, and tomorrow we’ll be talking to another – even younger – female Everest hopeful, and finding out why they want to climb the mountain and what preparation they have undertaken to help them achieve their goal.