Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala and Johann Peries are on the brink of summiting Mt. Everest (8,848m / 29,029ft) the highest mountain in the world. They will begin their final ascend, leaving from Everest Base Camp on 16 May and are due to summit on 21 May. No Sri Lankan has ever summited Mt. Everest.
The duo have been training in the Himalayas since early April. They have spent the past month on Mt. Everest completing strenuous training at extreme high altitudes, including trekking up and down between Base Camp and three camps which are located at higher altitudes. This has involved a number of climbs across the extremely treacherous Khumbu Icefall, a continually shifting glacier, and ice climbing up the arduous, vertical Lhotse Face – an ice wall just below Camp 3.
This season at least 289 climbers and Sherpas will be attempting the summit. All climbers are currently waiting for a weather window to enable the summit attempts to begin. Fatal avalanches in 2014 and 2015 resulted in no one summiting either year.
Jayanthi and Johann have joined with International Mountain Guides, a well-respected mountaineering company with over 30 years of experience guiding teams to the top of Everest. To even join the expedition, Jayanthi and Johann were required to demonstrate their considerable past experience at high altitudes, they then needed to prove their expert ice climbing skills and rope techniques. At each rotation they have had time limits imposed whereby they must reach milestone locations within set timeframes otherwise IMG will not allow them to continue. This is for the climbers’ own safety as the risk of avalanches rises as the day progresses. Jayanthi and Johann have passed each of these tests and are ready for the final challenge.
In climbing to Camp 3 (7,200m / 23,625ft) Jayanthi and Johann have both reached the highest altitude they have ever trekked to however they have their eyes set firmly on the next target: The Summit. Johann says “I have a great sense of achievement for what we have already done but I am eagerly awaiting the next step, the final push to the summit.” Jayanthi adds, “Our acclimatization rotations were successful, although they were the toughest thigs we’ve both ever done. I’m now looking forward to taking the Sri Lankan flag and waving it from the highest point in the world together with Johann”.
We wish them luck.