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Woman Shatters Mountaineering Record Climbing 14 Tallest Peaks in 92 Days

By Belal Awad · August 2, 2023

In brief…

  • Norwegian mountaineer Kristin Harila set a new world record by climbing the world's 14 highest peaks in 92 days.
  • Accompanied by her climbing partner Tenjin "Lama" Sherpa, Harila conquered the peaks in Chinese-controlled Tibet, Nepal, and Pakistan, culminating with the summit of K2 on July 27, 2023.
  • Harila completed the climbs in less than half the time of the previous record holder
  • She aims to inspire other women to pursue the male-dominated sport of mountaineering.
Summit of K2 - Earth's second-tallest mountain - the last peak conquered by climber KIristin Harila.  Maria Ly/Wikimedia Commons

Norwegian mountaineer Kristin Harila, 37, made history by becoming the fastest person to climb the world’s 14 highest peaks, completing the feat in a whirlwind 92 days. The achievement not only shatters the previous record held by Nepali climber Nirmal Purja, but also sets a new bar for women in the sport.

Harila, with her Sherpa climbing partner Tenjin “Lama”, began the expedition in April. The duo traversed through Chinese-controlled Tibet, Nepal, and Pakistan, conquering the 14 peaks that each stand over 8,000 meters high. Their journey culminated on July 27th when Harila reached the summit of K2, the world’s second-highest peak.

Scaling the 14 peaks is considered one of the most difficult and dangerous challenges in mountaineering. Harila’s achievement is even more remarkable as she completed the climbs in less than half the time it took the previous record holder, a man.

Harila’s mission, however, goes beyond personal achievement. She hopes her success will inspire other women to pursue their dreams in the male-dominated field of mountaineering. “In…history, and until now, it’s been like the strong macho man going out climbing mountains, ” she said. “I can see it now, when I talk to people that are not in this sport, they believe that men are more capable than women are” she told AFP.

Harila also voiced her desire to see more female role models in the sport, stressing the need for equal respect and opportunities for women climbers. “If girls are going to choose to do this, they need to have some role models. And they need to see it as possible,” Harila said. She also stressed the importance of financial support for female climbers, and the production of climbing gear designed specifically for women.

Despite the physical toll and personal sacrifices, including missing family events and holidays, Harila remains committed to her goal. “I want to use the project to make it easier for girls after me to get sponsorship,” she said, adding she hopes her efforts will help change perceptions about women’s capabilities in the sport.