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Cross-legged on top of the world

By - 24.05.2017

First Albanian woman, and first Kosovar club expedition reach the summit of Mount Everest.

In 1953, after a seven week climb, the New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, reached the 8,848 meter high summit of Mount Everest at 11.30 a.m. on May 29.

Now 64 years later, the defiant Uta Ibrahimi sat “cross-legged” on top of the world, and became the first Albanian woman ever to do so. On May 22, 2017, at 05:05 a.m. she held aloft a scarf bearing the flags of Albania and Kosovo. Her expedition was supported by two Albanian mountaineering associations, “Dajti” and “Pashtrik.”

The famous Albanian saying that “where there is one Albanian, there must be another,” was also true for the summit of Mount Everest. Ibrahimi was followed by two other climbers from Kosovo, Arineta Mula and Nazmi Hasanramaj, who reached the summit in a separate expedition on the same day. However, they only managed to announce their climb the following day.

Mula and Hasanramaj also made history, with their expedition to Mount Everest being the first to be organised by a Kosovar Club — Klubi Alpin Prishtina. In one day, two Kosovo Flags flew for the first time on the summit of Mount Everest, alongside the first Albanian flag there in five years.

Most of the year, the winds at the summit reach 160 km per hour, fast enough to lift a climber off their feet. Temperatures never get above freezing, with daily averages during the summer at around minus 19, and minus 36 in winter. The best time to climb the summit is in May, as winds die down and the temperatures grow warmer.

Despite this, the climbers faced other risks, such as extreme frostbite, falling into deep crevasses, and suffering from extreme high altitude, which can cause headaches, cloudiness of thought, a lack of sleep, a loss of appetite, and fatigue.

The three Kosovars now face the descent, followed by a three day trip from Everest Base Camp to the Lukla Airport in Nepal. It is a journey that will round off their historic trip which, as with their climb up, will be shared with friends and family along the way through social media.K

Feature image: Atdhe Mulla / K2.0.