Dynamic Greek duo Vanessa Archontidou and her teammate Christina Flambouri have set out to "conquer" the world's highest mountains and on April 5 will embark on their toughest challenge yet, as they will try to scale the highest peak of Mount Everest, at 8,848 metres above sea level, with the aim of planting a Greek flag on the “roof of the world.”
Mother-of-two Vanessa and Christina have already reached the summit of the highest mountains on five continents and ultimately aim to complete the Seven Summits challenge, scaling the highest peaks of all seven continents of the world.
"We climb mountains because this is what makes us happy and inspires us and gives us a reason to get out of bed in the morning with excitement. Each person must search and find this reason for themselves because only then can they feel complete," they told AMNA.
The task was far from easy, however, and its success demanded a high degree of organisation, patience and persistence, as well as money, they added.
Their journey will start in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, where after the necessary red tape, they will fly to Lukla airport at 2,860 metres, described as the most dangerous in the world. From there, the two women will make a journey of a few days to the Everest basecamp at 5,500 metres, where they will stay for at least a month as their bodies adjust to the high altitude, and their expedition to scale the mountain will start in mid-May.
"Apart from good physical fitness, it will require great mental fortitude since we will be far from home and our loved ones for roughly two months. As regards the danger, a high mountain certainly demands respect...the weather, a good assessment of our strength at any given time, care to avoid accidents are factors that require special attention," they noted.
"At higher altitudes, our body needs more energy, the air has less oxygen and breathing is hard, so every step is a minor feat. Above a certain point, of course, our body is truly suffering and for this reason, the zone above 8000 metres is called the 'death zone'," the two mountain climbers said. In their case, they intend to enlist the aid of an oxygen tank to assist them in making it to the top, they added.
So far, Archontidou and Flambouri have managed to reach the peak of Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest mountain of South America at 6,962 metres, Elbrus in Europe (5,642 metres), Mt Denali in North America (6,190 metres), the Carstensz Pyramid (4,884 metres), the highest mountain of Oceania in Papua New Guinea, and Tanzania's Kilimanjaro (5,895 metres) in Africa.