Bonita at Base Camp: Trekking Up Everest

In April 2010, every commuter in London knew the face of Bonita Norris after she made the papers by becoming the youngest woman to summit Mount Manaslu. Later that month, with her sights on the British Everest youth record, she began a series of training climbs from Everest Base Camp. Trekking progressively higher up the world’s highest mountain, Bonita dreamt of trekking her way into the history books.

Mount Everest (8,848 m) played host to two record-breaking summit attempts in the first climbing season of 2010. There was thirteen-year-old Jordan Romero, accompanied by his family, and Bonita Norris from Berkshire, Great Britain. Both brought a buzz with them to Everest Base Camp, because they were each among the youngest climbers ever to attempt the summit.

Young Mountaineers

Although Jordan and Bonita were both in the running to break an Everest youth record, the mountaineering pedigree of the two young Everest trekkers at Base Camp couldn’t be more different. Despite his tender age, Jordan is the more experienced, having climbed major peaks since the age of nine, and having already climbed the highest mountain in five of the world’s seven continents as part of the Seven Summits challenge. In contrast, at 23, Bonita was described by the papers as ‘a novice’. She was aiming to be the youngest Briton to summit Everest, but has only been climbing since 2008. She woke up one morning determined to climb Everest and break records, and was true to her word.

After declaring her mountaineering intentions, Bonita soon began preparing herself for her visit to Everest Base Camp, trekking in Snowdon in wintery conditions, learning to climb with ropes and tackling progressively more challenging mountains. This education culminated in an attempt on Mount Manaslu (8,163m) in Nepal, a formidable ‘eight-thousander’ that has claimed the lives of a number of adventurers since it was first assessed as ‘climbable’ in the 1950s. In 1974, Manaslu was the setting for the first all-female climbing expedition to conquer an 8,000 metre peak. Now, Bonita has left her own mark on Manaslu, becoming the youngest woman to climb the world’s eighth-highest mountain.

Plotting Her Progress

During her preparations for Everest, Bonita recorded her experiences in her blog, where she describes her training, the mountains she has seen, and her efforts to raise sponsorship for her summit bid. She writes about the training climbs she does with her team as they approach her ultimate destination, and the acclimatisation exercises they do along the course of the Everest base camp trekking route, which runs from Lukla airport to the foot of the Khumbu glacier.

When the team got to Everest after two weeks in Nepal, they settled in for the training climbs ahead. Finding a weather window, and conditioning for a summit bid is a gradual process. With each climb up Mount Everest, they carried equipment up to the higher camps to use later on.

From Camp 2, Bonita used a satellite phone to relay messages for her blog, before returning to the safety of Everest Base Camp – trekking back down to “where the air is thick”, as she called it.

Not According to Plan

Bonita was fortunate to have an Everest veteran, Kenton Cool, on her Everest trekking team, but things did not go exactly to plan. With the training runs, they discovered that one of Bonita’s co-climbers, David, was unable to sleep sufficiently at altitude. Without being able to rest-up at the higher camps on Everest, exhaustion was inevitable. As a result, he had to “hang up his climbing boots”, and Bonita accompanied him as he departed Everest Base Camp, trekking back down to Gorak Shep where Bonita updated her blog.

A complication like David’s is just one of a number of elements against you when you’re going for a summit bid of Everest. If she reaches the summit in April or May 2010, Bonita Norris will replace Victoria James (who was 25) as the youngest British woman to climb Mount Everest.

Author Bio: Jude Limburn Turner is the Marketing Manager for Mountain Kingdoms, an adventure tour company who have run Everest Base Camp trekkingitineraries for over 20 years. They now offer treks and tours worldwide, including destinations in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Central and South East Asia.

Category: Travel
Keywords: Everest Base Camp Trekking

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