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  • Jeannette McGill

Mountaineering Moments #12 . . . Chris Sherpa

It was a Jan 2018 weekend away in Sydney. I’d enjoyed a sunny north shore hike and then hurriedly made it into the CBD for “a talk by a lady climber that you might enjoy”; or so I had been told. I’d previously heard of Chris Jensen Burke & to a rapt audience she gave an insightful yet realistic mountaineering presentation. Afterwards it was a privilege to chat to both her & husband Lakpa. I shared that I was shopping around for a company to use for an upcoming Manaslu expedition. Something about their approach resonated with me and I subsequently summited Manaslu with Lakpa. I have the privilege of training and eating Bulgogi, (and a little chocolate) 😆 in the Blue Mountains with Chris and Lakpa.

Chris is a formidable and highly experienced mountaineer having summited 10 of the 14x 8000m mountains; this photo is from her (massive) summit day on Kanchenjunga. She is the first NZ and Australian woman to finish the 7 summits (Carstenz List). She is the only New Zealand or Australian woman to reach the summit of K2, and is (unofficially) the 13th woman in the world to do so. Chris has fund-raised for numerous Nepalese charitable initiatives, with a focus on assisting disadvantaged women and girls in Nepal, and those who are the subject of human trafficking within and outside Nepal.

Favourite mountain expedition to date: Every mountain is my favourite because I feel lucky to have the opportunity to climb.

Top 2 gear must haves: Good socks (no blisters) and shoes with ‘sticky’ soles – if your feet are happy, you’ll be happy.

Hardest lesson learnt while in the mountains: Not trusting myself enough. It happened once and nearly killed me.

Music or Audiobooks: Music - singing in the mountains warms the heart

Shewee or Squat: Shewee - easy in a tent if cold outside

Sunrise or Sunset: Sunrise - then you can get out of sleeping bag

First post-Covid mountain project: A secret even to me because it will depend on when we get beyond Covid. It could be as simple as a rock climb in the Blue Mountains.

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