CLARA SUMARWATI

MOUN­TAINEER

Indonesia Expat - - TOP 10 -

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.

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