Born: July 6, 1976
After graduating in psychology in 1990, Clara decided she wanted to climb the world’s tallest mountains. In 1993, she led a team of four Indonesian women who scaled Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Andes, South America. In 1994, Clara attempted to become the first Indonesian to climb Mount Everest but gave up after reaching a height of 7,000 metres because of dangerous conditions. She dreamed of raising the Indonesian flag at the summit of Everest on August 17, 1995 – the 50th anniversary of Indonesian independence – but she was unable to raise corporate sponsorship. Eventually, the government agreed to sponsor her expedition. According to the international mountaineering community, Clara reached the summit on September 26, 1996, heavily dependent on her team of five Sherpa guides and on artificial oxygen. In 1997, three members of the Indonesian Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus) scaled Everest and subsequently complained there was insufficient evidence that Clara had reached the summit. They also claimed she was too weak to have achieved the ascent. Feeling unappreciated, Clara suffered a mental breakdown. From 1997 to 2009, she was repeatedly admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where staff thought she was crazy because she claimed to have climbed Everest. Whether she reached the peak or not, she was a trailblazing and inspirational Indonesian athlete.