She’s completed a bucket list accomplishment!
Aretha Duarte just made history as the first Black Latin American woman to climb Mount Everest, USA Today reports.
Aretha Duarte first began training for her trek 12 ½ months ago with the help of several team members. Her goal was to become a part of the 5,000 + people who climbed the mountain, the first being Edmund Percival Hillary in 1953. She follows in the footsteps of Sibusiso Vilane and Sophia Danenberg, Who became the first Black Man and first black woman to climb to the summit of Mount Everest in 2003 and 2006, respectively.
During the last year, travelers were barred from climbing the mountain. In November 2020, Everest reopened, with Nepal allowing climbers to return only with permits and health checks. Then on May 23rd, Duarte completed her summit, making history as the first Black Latin American woman to climb Mount Everest.
“Since, from the beginning, my ‘summit’ was my home, my mother and my brothers...At the end of the day, it’s about that; surpassing expected results in harmony with the environment in which we find ourselves,” Duarte wrote on social media in her native Portugues.
She documented her entire climb via Instagram, sharing her highs and lows and her challenges throughout. Duarte developed pulmonary edema during the climb, which usually develops due to high elevation or exposure to toxins.
“The discomfort is temporary, but the changes this journey represents will be perennial,” she said.
Duarte credits her team with helping her cross the finish line and supporting her along the way.
“Our team is made up of human beings who breathe high performance, even when the air is thin. They open our minds to the impossible, even when routes close before our eyes,” Duarte said.
Reports show that as of April 2021, 5,788 people have climbed the world’s highest mountain. The Brazilian native has plans to return to her home country to celebrate the incredible accomplishment.
“I wanted to write a beautiful text to tell you how surreal this mountain is and how much supernatural strength it took for me to arrive and return from the top with HEALTH and SAFETY, but I’m still ‘digesting’ this unique and rare experience I lived. So for now I’ll just leave my GRATITUDE here for all the encouragement, support, prayers and good vibes sent to me. Knowing all of this was essential for our project to climb Everest to be successful. In a little while you’ll know better how this ascension was, the biggest physical, emotional and spiritual challenge of my life. Once again THANK YOU. Hugs tight to all,” said Duarte.
Photo Courtesy of Aretha Duarte/Gabriel Tarso/Instagram