Icelandic mountain climber Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir, who conquered Everest last Sunday morning, told RÚV she was overwhelmed when she climbed the last stretch. She stated the conditions are unusually difficult on the mountain now, resulting in tragic deaths in the last few days.
Mount Everest is the highest peak in the world, at a height of 8,848 meters (29,029 ft). Vilborg Arna reached the summit early Sunday morning, becoming the first Icelandic woman to do so. She has since made the descent, taking a helicopter from the base camp to the nearest town, then an airplane to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital.
“You’re naturally dead tired; yet, at the same time, feel unbelievably great,” she said.
Vilborg Arna had to wait out bad weather for 24 hours in the fourth and final camp before continuing to the summit. It was cold and very windy, and the last steps to the top were emotional.
“The journey is made in certain phases and when you reach a place called South Summit then you see a ridge that is in pictures that maybe many people know and even from the Everest movie. And when you see that then it kind of comes over you. It overwhelms you a little because it’s something that you’ve been seeing and experiencing your whole life. And to climb up the last stretch is magnificent, absolutely amazing. And so of course you shed maybe one or two tears when you step on the summit itself. And you feel just how absolutely tiny you are in those surroundings,” Vilborg Arna stated, adding that she could see a little bit of the curvature of the earth from the summit.
There have been many deaths on Everest recently, some during the weekend of Vilborg Arna’s ascent.
“The conditions on Everest now are unusually difficult. Both cold and layers of snow and more. And that has obviously taken its toll and is really tragic to think about,” she added.
Vilborg Arna leaves Kathmandu today to return home to Iceland.