Friday, May 25, 2007

The Kathmandu Post: Mom of 5-month-old atop Everest

reprinted from The Kathmandu Post

Mom of 5-month-old atop Everest


KATHMANDU, May 24 - Just three months after giving birth to her first child she set off to scale Mt Everest. Five months later and yet to fully recover from childbearing, Janet Belarmino, 28, has already conquered the world's highest mountain.

Not only did she emerge triumphant from her mission, she along with other two Filipinas-- Noelle Wenceslao, and Carina Dayondon-- set a record in Everest history last Wednesday, becoming the first ever women to cross over the peak of Mt Everest. They made it to the top from the north side and descended from the south.

Besides, the three Filipinas also set the record as the first Southeast Asian women to conquer the world's highest peak.

"It was an awesome experience. I got an immense amount of pleasure," said a visibly elated Belarmino on arrival at the capital.

Commenting on the ordeal of leaving her small son at home with her husband, she said it was emotionally a very difficult time, having to miss her baby.

"I decided to leave him, as I was too focused on the mountain. I believed there was a greater cause behind my decision," she said. She said determination, unity and team work were what made her succeed in her endeavor.

Crossing the mountain from Tibet to Nepal has been done only by a handful of mountaineers. The traverse posed a bigger challenge for the women as they passed an unfamiliar route during the descent. The other two Filipino women also could not hide their excitement. "Definitely, the climbing was tough. But getting success is an enthralling experience," said Wenceslao.

When asked how it felt while tackling the ascent, Dayondon said they were mentally and physically prepared to climb the tallest peak. "We have great respect for mountains. So, we believed that the mountain would allow us to climb it as well," she said.

Prior to her attempt this season, Belarmino had received mountaineering training in Nepal since 2004. She had climbed a few mountains, below 8,000 meters, like (Island) Peak.

She was so much enamored with mountains that she named her five-month old baby Himalaya. "Himalaya is deep-rooted in my mind. So I chose this name for my son," said she.

Sharing her experience, she said the journey was physically challenging. "We are not super-women. All we had was strong determination, and motivation," she said. She said the three years training helped in her success.

Over 200 climbers have reached the world's highest peak this spring season from the south col. The month of May is the best season for climbing. A total of 23 climbing expeditions are expecting to scale Mt Everest this season.

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