May 21, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala has summited the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest, early this morning, becoming the first Sri Lankan to complete the incredible feat, the support team said.
She is now descending to a lower base camp, with winds favorable. She has not yet had an opportunity to make direct contact with her family in Sri Lanka, but is in communication with the team at base camp, her brother told Lanka Business Online.
Kuru-Utumpala is part of a group of climbers including Sri Lanka’s Johann Peiris who is expected to attempt the last leg of the ardous expedition soon.
“The Everest Support Team is delighted to announce that early this morning Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala summited Mt Everest, becoming the very first Sri Lankan to achieve this feat. Johann Peries is currently making his summit bid and we will keep you updated as we find out about his progress,” the post on the team Facebook page said.
On Friday, the climbers said they would rest at Camp 4 for a few hours before starting the final climb for the summit bid.
Prior to leaving on the expedition, Kuru-Utumpala told Lanka Business Online that the climb would be a significant achievement for her, and a milestone for Sri Lankan women.
“As a Sri Lankan woman this climb means a lot me, especially as women and girls are often discouraged to take up sports, and especially not extreme adventure sports,” she said.
“This will be our greatest challenge yet. At 8,848m above sea level, the legendary Mount Everest is one of the most testing physical challenges a human can attempt.”
With over a decade of experience each, Sri Lanka’s two climbers crowdfunded part of the expenses earlier this year and received support from sponsors and endorsement of Sri Lanka’s sports authorities.
Kuru-Utumpala was among 28 climbers, guides and sherpas who made the attempt this time as part of an international climbing team, her brother Rukshan Kuru-Utumpala said.
“We are very proud of her,” he said, adding communications are currently being coordinated from the next base camp.