Four courageous South African #strongwomen are preparing to summit Mt. Everest in 2020 as the first all-women team from Africa to complete the climb.
The team aims to fulfill their long-held dream and in doing so inspire young women entrepreneurs to overcome metaphorical ‘mountains’ in their lives with the ‘courage to start and the strength to endure’ – the motto of the expedition.
Meet the team
The women, who are all both leaders and mountaineers, are Lisa Gering, Alda Waddell, Deshun Deysel, and Tumi Mphahlele, all from Johannesburg, with Ronnie Muhl, avid mountaineer and founder of Cape Town-based Adventures Global, managing the full logistics of the climb.
From the outset, the idea was always to be an all-women team, and the first from Africa to summit the world’s highest mountain – a feat which only a few South African women have ever achieved.
All the women have extensive mountaineering experience, trekking, hiking, climbing, and summiting the highest mountains in several continents, while Deshun and Tumi are also accomplished athletes in other sports.
Inspiring others along the way
Gering explains that the Everest 2020 climb has a strong give-back element, and a percentage of the sponsorship will go towards inspiring, supporting, and empowering women entrepreneurs. “It’s where we all come from and it’s something we’re passionate about. We want them to know that they too can conquer the ‘Everests’ in their lives.”
“Building a business is like climbing Mt. Everest – it requires many hours of preparation, endurance, and sacrifice while staying focused on the long-term goal of success. As women entrepreneurs, we get it. We’ve been climbing our business Everests for many years and we understand the pain involved in making a business sustainable. As mountaineers, we have physically walked these journeys as well,” Deysel adds.
Preparing to climb
As part of their preparation for the expedition, the all-women team will climb Mont Blanc (4,810m) in the Alps in Europe in September and Mount Aconcagua (6,959m) in the Argentinian Andes in December, as well as intensive individual training by each of the team members, and two-weekly meetings to ensure everything is on track.
Securing sponsorship is a vital element in the plans and preparation for the expedition as the full cost of the preparation climbs and the ultimate expedition up Mt Everest in 2020 for the four-women team is about R5 million.
“We are working on sponsorship/partnership options and are open to discussions with corporates who would be interested in seeing their company flag flying at the top of the world,” says Gering.
Follow the team as they prepare for Everest 2020 on Facebook.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.