Deshun Deysel, Lisa Gering, Tumi Mphahlele and Alda Waddell are training on Drankensberg Mountains. Next year, they can become the first team of African women to conquer Mount Everest.
The women are encouraged by South African business CEO Saray Khumalo, who became the first black African woman to reach the world’s highest summit at 8,848 meters tall in May.
Africa has not so many mountains to practice on, but Khumalo says that is not an issue.
Alda Waddell explains:
“There’s different elements that you need to train for. It is the technical, the equipment that you need to understand. It is the physical that you need to be able to do. And then also the cold. You need to be able to manage the cold. And then lastly, it’s the altitude.”
In 1996 Deshun Deysel became the first black SA woman to set foot on Mount Everest. While she wasn’t able to reach the summit, since then she’s scaled mountains on 5 continents.
“When I first started high-altitude climbing there was so few women in the mountains,” she stated. “If I look around now, especially in the South African climbing community, that number definitely increased and because of that we have a greater pool of women to choose from. So why not have an all-female team?”