Pinays turn at the top

First Asian Womens group to aim Mount Everest

In February of this year (2007), the top Filipina climbers of the Philippines, Noelle Wenceslao, Karina Dayondon and Janet Belarmino, backed by their team, the First Philippine Mount Everest Expedition headed by Arturo Valdez will fly off to Nepal in preparation to their attempt to reach the highest point in the World, the Mount Everest sometime in March (2007).

Although these three ladies are not new-comers to high altitude, thin air and low temperatures having conquered some of the extreme mountains like Mount Cho Oyu in the Nepal and Tibet borders, Mustaq-Ata in the China-Pakistan borders and Mount McKinley in Alaska. As they face off with Mount Everest, they will be met by additional challenge- the other women group of climbers from Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. These national groups will also make a go at the top when they heard that the Filipinas were priming for Everest, with the prestige of being the First South East Asian Women to summit Everest as their prize.

In this particular expedition will we also see a feat never before tried by any team who has scaled the Everest. The FPMEE, with the Filipinas as their “banner climbers”, will do a “traverse”. This means that the group will be divided into two: one group will start from the south ridge and the other will begin the climb from the north face. The two groups will then meet at the top of Everest and will descend towards the opposite directions from which they came. Although very dangerous, these Filipinos are attempting a unique style which they also term as “Unity Climb”.

The race is on. And come February the temperatures will rise in the base camps of Mount Everest and hopefully, our Filipina team will be the first South East Asian Women to reach the top of the world.

Catherine A. Calderon, Contributor