China Stymies Norwegian Mountaineer’s Bid for Record
Norwegian climber Kristin Harila on Friday abandoned for now her bid to scale the world’s 14 highest peaks in record time, after China refused to grant her a permit for the final two.
Harila had until November 4 to conquer the summits of Shishapangma and Cho Oyu in Tibet to make history and beat the world record.
The record was set in 2019 by Nepali mountaineer Nirmal Purja, who scaled the 14 “super peaks” above 8,000 meters (26,247 feet) in just six months and six days.
“It is over for now,” Harila, 36, wrote in an Instagram message with emojis of broken hearts and floods of tears.
“We have left no stone unturned in this process and have exhausted every possible avenue to make this happen, but unfortunately due to reasons out of our control we were unable to get the permits in time,” she said.
But the mountaineer, who is on a quest to change how the climbing world views female athletes, vowed to complete her dizzying challenge and make history in 2023.
“In times of adversity one has to find inner strength, which is why I am letting you all know that I am coming back, and I WILL complete this record next year!” she wrote.
Harila, currently in Kathmandu, Nepal, had just a week left to ascend 8,027-meter Shishapangma and Cho Oyu’s 8,201 meters.
But she was refused permission to enter Tibet by the Chinese authorities, who have ruled the region since the 1950s and are accused by rights groups of violently repressing the majority ethnic Tibetan population.
China has rarely issued climbing permits in tightly controlled Tibet in recent years and all but sealed its borders during the coronavirus pandemic.
Harila is a native of Vadso in Norway’s far north, where the highest point is 633 meters.