Feb 18, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lankan mountain climbers Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala and Johann Peiris said Thursday they will launch an expedition to summit the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest, this year. If successful, they will be the first Sri Lankans to do so.
With over a decade of experience each, Kuru-Utumpala said they are confident they can accomplish the task.
“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,” Kuru-Utumpala said.
The expedition plan includes hiking to the Lobuche Peak Base Camp for acclimatization on the way to Everest Base Camp at the beginning of the expedition. Later there would be two acclimatization climbs on Everest prior to the Everest summit bids.
The duo have successfully trecked Island Peak in the Himalayas, as well as Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Imja Tse, Mt. Kinabalu, and peaks in the Andes.
“We plan to be part of a larger team led by IMG, a globally renowned mountaineering company which has led a number of successful Mt. Everest expeditions over the past 30 years,” she said.
The expedition doesn’t come cheap. This week they opened a crowdfunding initiative to cover some of the cost. They also seek corporate sponsors to bridge the cost of 136,000 dollars.
Expenses include climbing permits and payments for Sherpas and guides, internal flights, food and accommodation, medical supplies and safety equipment. Training has already begun, and part of the training is being done in Nuwara Eliya.
“I’m excited because of the potential this has to take this sport to new heights in Sri Lanka,” Kuru-Utumpala said.
“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 added.
A link to their crowd funding campaign can be found here