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Pepper braces for summit push at camp III

2024 Apr 12, 19:14,

Australian mountaineer Allie Pepper who arrived in Nepal just over a month ago now stands just a push away from conquering the summit of Mount Annapurna-I without the aid of supplemental oxygen. Fueled by her passion to set an example and empower others like her, 48-year old Pepper has safely reached camp III and is poised for the final push towards the summit of the tent highest peak on the planet along with her guides Mikel Sherpa and Nima Sherpa.

Just today, the rope fixing team on Annapurna successfully reached the summit paving the way for climbers awaiting the window at Camp III. If the weather provides, Pepper will be at the summit by April 14.

Currently at 6440m, the battle is still far from over for Pepper and her team who are still at the mercy of the most dangerous mountain in the world and the erratic weather conditions. Earlier, the team encountered 10 hours of grueling challenges traversing from Camp II (5,560 meters) to Camp III. Even pioneer mountaineers are wary when climbing Annapurna which has a fatality rate of over 30 per cent.

According to Mingma David Sherpa, record holding climber and mountain guide, the climbing route on Annapurna is considered extremely challenging among alpinists as the mountain demands a high level of technical climbing skills, is exposed to strong winds in many sections and is significantly prone to avalanches.

“Although no peak, be it big or small, is not easy to climb, Annapurna is on a completely different level when it comes to risks. The team will need to be very careful as it is already tough on a human body to climb an eight thousander, let alone Annapurna without supplemental oxygen,” Mingma said.

Similarly, Lakhphuti Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountain Academy (NMA ) and a tourism entrepreneur said, “Pepper’s aim to climb all the 14 peaks without supplemental oxygen is a very challenging goal in itself but she is giving her best and I wish her all the success. It's difficult to climb one mountain, let alone 14 without o2. Pepper’s passion and strength to face her greatest challenges is an inspiration for all women in Nepal and abroad.

Furthermore, Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Seven Summit Treks shared that Pepper's mission exceeds geographical boundaries and highlights the potential and resilience of a single individual which will inspire generations. “As Pepper inches closer to her goal, her own journey serves as a beacon of inspiration for women across the globe. Through her extraordinary feats, she challenges societal norms and inspires countless individuals to embrace their inherent potential and pursue their aspirations relentlessly,” he said.

Despite the challenges ahead of her, Pepper is very optimistic for the summit push and is already thinking about the next destination; Mt Kanchenjunga and Mt Makalu. “We made it to camp III in 10 hours, of which two were spent climbing the ice wall. But the team is safe and currently resting before heading above the death zone. The rope fixing team has also reached the summit and it will be us next soon. Some tablets have sedated the headache from last night and the team is finally taking a good needed rest again before the final push,” she said.

Following the accomplishment of Mount Annapurna-I, she will have 11 eight-thousanders to complete her dream of climbing all 14 eight-thousander peaks without supplemental oxygen in a short period of time.

Pepper will head to Pakistan next to take on Nanga Parbat and Mount K2. In the autumn season, she aims to climb Mount Shishapangma, and Mount Cho Oyu, and Gasherbrum-II before returning to Nepal again to tick off Dhaulagiri, Lhotse, and Everest from her list.

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