Two Greek women are poised for their attempt to conquer the world’s highest mountain, Everest, on April 5, 2019.
Vanessa Archontidou, a mother of two, and her teammate Christina Flambouri have already topped the summits of the highest mountains on five continents. They are now turning their attention to the completion of the “Seven Summits Challenge,” which involves scaling the highest peaks on all seven continents of the world.
The duo is all set to embark on their next death-defying exploit, where they will try to scale Mount Everest, at 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) above sea level, and plant the Greek flag on the “Roof of the World.”
Archontidou said that finding sponsors to finance their attempt has been a major hurdle, to the point that the whole mission was in danger at one point. The world-class climber spoke to the state-run AMNA news agency shortly after announcing the attempt in a press conference in Athens.
“Even Olympic champions have difficulty finding support; imagine the situation for us, who are not professional athletes, but two ordinary women with an unusual dream,” Archontidou said.
Describing what motivates them to take on the highest mountains on the globe, the two women said that they climb because this is what makes them happy. ”It inspires us and gives us a reason to get out of bed in the morning with excitement,” they explained.
So far, Archontidou and Flambouri have managed to reach the peak of Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest mountain in South America at 6,962 meters (22,841 feet). They have also topped Elbrus in Europe at 5,642 meters (18,510 feet) and Denali in North America at 6,190 meters (20,308 feet).
They have also summited Papua New Guinea’s Carstensz Pyramid, which at 4,884 meters (16,024 feet) is the highest mountain of Oceania, and Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet) in Africa.
Their aim was to climb one of the seven summits each year. If they succeed in scaling Mount Everest in April of 2019, their last remaining peak to complete the Seven Summits Challenge will be Vinson Massif in Antarctica, which stands 4,892 meters (16,049 feet) above sea level.
The two athletes stressed that they have a huge responsibility, especially toward the people and the companies which have sponsored their efforts. “Cardlink, Edenred, KPMG, Vichy and Samsung Hellas are our heroes; without them we could not have taken a single step,” they said.
The women added that when these companies agreed to support them, they felt ”unspeakable joy and hope.”
Mount Everest is located in the Mahalangur Himal range of the Himalayas between the countries of Nepal and China.