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Youngest ever woman to conquer K2 reveals she was ‘suffering the whole time’


Adriana Brownlee at the summit

Adriana Brownlee at the summit

Adriana Brownlee at the summit

A 21-year-old who has become the youngest female to conquer K2, one of the most challenging climbs in the world said she was “suffering the whole time” while carrying out the feat.

Adriana Brownlee, whose father Tony is from Belfast, has now completed 10 of the 14 highest peaks in the world and is the youngest person to have reached the summit of the most peaks above 8,000 metres.

She climbed Everest in April last year but has also conquered Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Annapurna 1, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak and now K2.

Speaking to the BBC’s World at One programme, the climber described the summit as “the most beautiful and striking” of those mountains over 8,000 metres.

“When you see it and arrive at the base camp it is literally on its own. It also has this mystery about it because it has this danger it has a very high death rate,” she said.

“That just draws people in because why climb an 8000 metre [mountain] if it is going to be easy or boring.

“Until you get close to the summit you don’t appreciate how incredible this piece of nature is because you are just suffering the whole time.

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“All you can think about is putting one foot in front of the other and thinking about your safety and ropes.”

According to Ms Brownlee, the drier weather on the mountain increases the risks of falling rocks, something she described as “Russian roulette”.

"You come down the mountain and between camp two and advanced base camp, it's just a section of a highway of rocks pretty much and they are bouncing in every single direction possible,” she added.

"You're just getting showered by them."

Speaking to this newspaper on Monday, father Tony revealed his daughter aims to complete all the climbs of those over 8,000 metres by next spring.

“She reached the summit on July 28... We were following her progress on an InReach tracker, which gives the digital map of where she was,” said Tony.

He added of the remaining peaks: “She is going to do one or two more this autumn, then finish them all by next spring.”

Fewer than 400 people have completed the ascent of K2, while 91 people have died during attempted climbs.

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