Because at the end of the day, it is the summit that drives us, but it is the climb itself that makes us who we are.
Western Cape, South Africa (05 July 2021) – Remy Kloos, a Cape Town woman who is on track to become the youngest South African to climb the 7 summits – the highest mountains in the world – recently travelled to Nepal on a mission to set a South African record of becoming the first to ever climb Mount Everest (the highest peak in the world) and Mount Lhotse (the fourth highest) back-to-back in a 24-hour period.
However, after spending 57 days in the Himalayas and reaching 8000m – the Death Zone – Kloos’ expedition was cancelled due to dangerous weather conditions, which made the risk of frostbite and death too high to proceed.
During her expedition, Kloos endured some of the most extreme weather patterns the Himalayas has ever experienced – including two cyclones – with temperatures down to -30 degrees Celsius, and she navigated many life and death situations.
“I have come away learning so much about myself and about a sport I love dearly. I have formed friendships with some of my climbing heroes and connected with people that have now become family – climbers and Sherpas who I now consider my sisters and brothers, such as fellow climber Asma Al Thani, who plans to become the first Qatari woman in history to reach the summit of Mt Everest and complete the Explorers Grand Slam, making her the first women from the Middle East to do so. I have been inspired by all these people to climb better, to dream bigger, to embrace life to the fullest. And I will be back!”
Kloos, who has already climbed several formidable peaks, says that she intends to return to Nepal next year to complete her goal of summitting the two highest peaks in the world in a back-to-back attempt.
“In extreme mountaineering, setbacks along the way are inevitable, but I will be back next year to complete this goal that I have set for myself. I still have no idea how I will pull these dreams of mine off – needing new partners and sponsorships – but I have chosen to view this as an exciting adventure where great opportunities await me. I will keep putting one step in front of the other. Climbing, climbing, and progressing. Because at the end of the day, it is the summit that drives us, but it is the climb itself that makes us who we are.”
“So often in life, the end result is praised. A record is set, a business deal is done, a goal is reached. But what about the sacrifices, setbacks and failures along the way that ultimately get us there? We need to praise these because it is in those moments, those low points, where we show our true grit, where we need to display immense amounts of courage, determination and resilience,” says Kloos. “Although I did not reach these summits this time, I know my comeback will be stronger than this setback! Normalizing and talking about setbacks is something we should be more open about.”
Having started high-altitude mountaineering in a bid to challenge herself in the face of her struggles with anxiety and depression, when she is not scaling the world highest summits, Kloos strives to empower South Africans from all walks of life – and spread messages of courage and personal growth – through her role as a public speaker, mentor, and coach.
“I am on a mission to empower. Empower women, empower youth, and empower anyone who suffers from mental health battles to believe in their own capabilities. Our gender does not define us. Our age does not define us. Our adversities do not define us,” says Kloos. “What I have come to realise is that there is no expiration date on discovering and expressing the potential that is inside of you. It starts with the belief in yourself and the courage to push yourself. We all have something remarkable to share with the world. It doesn’t matter how you start, why you start or when you start – just start.”
“Success for me has not been defined by each successful mountain summit, but rather the ability for me to give back to society and bring about positive change.
As we have seen with sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup victory in 2019, sport pursuits have enormous power to contribute towards social cohesion and to challenge mindsets and prejudice, and it has huge potential to empower people.”
“The landscape of the world of high-altitude mountaineering is starting to shift from primarily a male-dominated sport to represent more female climbers as well. With these records, I wanted to reiterate that gender makes no difference at all. Endurance, skill, strength, faith, teamwork and positivity, this is what truly matters.”
If you are interested in connecting with Remy regarding her coaching and public speaking offerings, you can email her on firstname.lastname@example.org. Remy is also looking for partners to work with her to realize her mission of becoming the youngest South African to scale the infamous 7 summits.