Mandy Ramsden, ex-Zimbabwean and single mother of 4, succeeded in her goal to become a 7-Summiter when she successfully summited the highest mountain of them all and stood on top of the world at the same time as Jordan Romero. The two teams had approached the summit from opposite sides, Mandy from Nepal and Jordan from Tibet as China has no age restrictions for Everest climbers.
Climbing mountains is a psychological battle as much as a physical one. Whilst acclimatising at Camp 2 before the final push, the team had a chance to see at close quarters the route they were going to take. Contemplating what she was about to attempt, Ramsden mused that “if all of this didn’t bring into sharp focus the reality of what we are facing, the leaden limbs, the high altitude insomnia, the breathlessness, the headaches and the waves of nausea were always there to remind us of the lunacy of our holiday choice.”
They had the perfect ascent. Their Adventure Consultants team was led by veteran New Zealand guide Mike Roberts with fellow South African Tony Hampson-Tindale and Irishman James Haydock.
Having waited for the weather window that would allow them to start the climb, they wished their support team goodbye with a cheerful “see you on the weekend” and arrived at their final camp, at 7,935 metres, on the South Col on 21 May – less than a thousand metres short of the summit. After a few hours rest they left the South Col at 22h00. Although it was snowing lightly they could see the stars above – conditions looked good.
They reached the South Summit as dawn was breaking. After changing their oxygen bottles they were ready for the final push. At 06h00 the first team member, James Haydock, stood on the summit. Roberts and Ramsden, accompanied by Pemba Choti, on his sixth summit and Passang Bhote, on his third, topped out just under two hours later.
Sharing the roof of the world with them was Jordan Romero who had climbed with his father and three sherpa guides.
They returned to the South Col for the night, before descending to Camp 2 the next day. Despite falling snow the following day they pushed on to Base Camp.
As of this date, 424 climbers have summited Everest in 2010, with two fatalities. A new record for the number of ascents was set by the 50-year-old Apa Sherpa, leader of Eco Everest Expedition 2010, who now has 20 summits under his belt.