Summiting Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse back-to-back within 24 hours: one woman has just set multiple South African records!
Cape Town, South Africa (22 May 2022) – Remy Kloos has just set two phenomenal records – she is the first South African to ever do a back-to-back double summit of both Mount Everest and sister peak Mount Lhotse in 24 hours and the first South African female to summit Mount Lhotse, the fourth highest peak in the world which is situated next to Mount Everest.
The summit events took place on the 15th and 16th of May, respectively.
“Everything still feels so surreal,” says Remy. “Conditions were close to perfect, and I was one of the first people to summit Mount Everest at 5.30 am on the 15th, and spent 45 minutes on top of the highest place on earth, marvelling at the location and the moment. I never knew that beauty like this existed. I summited exactly at the time of the super blood moon eclipse, and whilst climbing Mount Everest; I witnessed the moon set over Nepal and the sunrise over Tibet – it is an image I will never forget.”
“When I summited Lhotse, two climbers were making their way down; otherwise I was up there on my own. Whilst climbing Mount Lhotse, I was gifted with being able to witness the sunrise and illuminate Mount Everest. It was the most wildly beautiful experience, and I feel good, strong, blissful and grateful for this epically special season.”
Where to from here?
Having only discovered her passion for high-altitude mountaineering four and a half years ago, Remy aims to be the youngest African to climb the Seven Summits – the highest mountain on each of the seven continents.
To date, she has summitted six of the seven mountains that make up the Seven Summits – Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Aconcagua in South America, Mount Elbrus in Europe, Mount Denali in North America, Mount Vinson in Antarctica and now Mount Everest in Asia. She plans to scale the last remaining peak later this year with a climb up Carstensz Pyramid in Papua.
Training & Preparation
Preparation for this extreme attempt was intense, and Remy explains a little bit about the journey.
“After arriving in Kathmandu in Nepal, I met up with my climbing team, and a few days later, we then flew to Lukla, notoriously known as the most dangerous airport in the world. From Lukla, we trekked for ten days to arrive at our home for the next few weeks – Everest Base Camp at 5364 metres above sea level.”
“Above base camp, there are four additional camps, and over the course of April and early May, I completed ‘rotations’ which consisted of climbing to and sleeping at Camp 1, Camp 2, Camp 3, and then returning to base camp. This was to ensure that I was properly acclimatised for the final summit push, which first took me to the top of Everest and then Lhotse straight after. The summit weather window usually opens around mid-May and can be anything between a few days up to two weeks – so we had to jump to it!”
Coupled with the understandable need to build up a high level of strength, endurance, and strong cardiovascular conditioning, the mental stamina that is required to tackle something like this is arguably the biggest challenge.
“To prepare, it was important to get to know myself, analyse and recognise my motivations, and know my strengths, limitations, and weaknesses. Being able to persevere through the toughest conditions on the mountain is essential, and so getting a crystal-clear understanding of my ‘why’ is extremely important,” explains Remy.
Remy’s “why” is a bold and worthy one
Having started high-altitude mountaineering in a bid to challenge herself in the face of her struggles with anxiety and depression, Remy uses her expeditions to raise awareness and break the stigma around mental health.
“Overcoming mountains is something we battle every day. It’s terrifying to be vulnerable and to climb that mountain. I want everyone to know that we are all enough just as we are and that we do not have to be held back, no matter what society says. Something I always remind myself is to strive for progress over perfection; this seemingly yet simple act has transformed my life in a big way!”
“Climbing mountains has changed my whole life. I have watched myself accomplish feats that I previously thought impossible, but true transformation began the moment I started believing in myself, my worth and what I was capable of!” says Remy.
And it doesn’t end there – over the years she has used her climbs as a platform to raise funds for the Dlala Nje Foundation. The funds went towards the expansion and renovation of their children’s community centre and building a teen centre for at-risk youth in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. Remy uses her climbing to communicate messages of hope, opportunity, and empowerment.
When she is not scaling the Seven Summits and breaking records, Remy continues to empower South Africans from all walks of life and spread her message of courage and personal growth through her role as a public speaker, mentor, and coach. Remy launched her PROJECT A.C.E. last year in support of her mission of empowerment.
ACTION! “Only through action can we unlock the power inside of ourselves to become the person we always wanted to be. Small decisions all day long. We are all one decision away from a completely different life. I believe in the power of the collective that acting together, we can go further than we can ever go alone,” says Remy.
CHANGE! “With placing one step in front of the other, great impact and change is possible. Greatness and courage are not personality traits, they are inside all of us. Courage is a push, the kind of push we give ourselves when we stand up, speak up, show up, do whatever feels hard, scary and uncertain.”
EMPOWER! “At the core, everything I do revolves around laying the foundation for my community to be bold. It’s about defying all the stereotypes and empowering others to believe in their own capabilities.”