41 years, Australia
Timaru-born mountainer Chris Jensen Burke has added Mt Kanchenjunga to her list of conquered peaks.
The 49-year-old successfully climbed the 8586 m high mountain - the 10th peak she has conquered with summits over 8000m - which sits on the border of Nepal and India, after a failed expedition last year.
In conquering Mt Kanchenjunga, Jensen Burke has now climbed the world's six highest peaks - Everest, K2, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho-Oyu.
In a Friday post on her online expedition travel blog Jensen Burke said she could barely type after the latest challenge.
"I am so exhausted my fingers don't want to do this (post) in haste. This expedition alone could fill a book. This is the hardest expedition for me, ever," She wrote.
"Everything aches at the moment. Time to go eat, drink and rest, and to process everything.
"I'm still a bit overwhelmed and finding it hard to move too far."
Jensen Burke describes the drama of the final push to summit.
"We left for our summit push on the 11th, intending to summit on the 14th or 15th.
"Then, the weather caused a problem - we had lost the 14th and now the 15th was looking bad - Kanch (Mt Kanchenjunga) weather changes every six hours at times so you have to take your chances when you can."
"The weather was deteriorating, the 16th looked good but it meant another day up high.
"Everyone at camp 3 had to battle with the decision on weather and sitting high.
"Two of us were pretty much going up or down, but not staying at camp 3 - too high to stay too long as the body weakens."
"After consulting several weather sources, we finally decided to up and try to summit on the 16th. It was a touch and go decision."
Jensen Burke goes on to tell of the physical and mental battle against cold, altitude and approaching darkness and several climbers stopped and headed back to safety.
"By now, a number of my team members had descended with cold or respiratory issues. I had pictured us all reaching the summit together. This was not to be."
Upon reaching the summit at about 6.45pm, Jensen Burke realized that they maybe had 15 minutes of daylight and had to take photos quickly.
"I was conscious that we would be climbing around the ledges in the dark and frankly, I was scared about that, due to exhaustion of nearly 24 hours of climbing, especially at this altitude.
"Of the summit, I remember doing a quick 360 degree turn in order to see what the view was like. There was not an ounce of wind and the sun was setting. Best weather ever. Beautiful.
"Thank you to Kanchenjunga for allowing us the privilege of climbing safely on her slopes.
"May all climb safe for the remainder of this season."
Photo credit: https://www.curvesncolors.com
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