HIT­TING THE HEIGHTS

Prevention (Australia) - - Inspiring Women -

Di West­away, 58, did the world’s high­est hand­stand in the Hi­malayas

“At al­most 40, I was a worn-out mother of three chil­dren when a friend’s per­sonal trainer in­vited me to join a climb of Mount Aconcagua in Ar­gentina, the high­est moun­tain in the south­ern hemi­sphere. I hoped it would just make me fitter but it trans­formed my en­tire life. I re­alised that wild ad­ven­tures made me feel vi­tal, pur­pose­ful and more alive.

Sev­eral years later I founded Wild Women on Top, to in­spire women to un­der­take phys­i­cal chal­lenges. And along with them, I have kept on chal­leng­ing my­self, tak­ing on dif­fi­cult hikes, treks and moun­tain climbs.

My big­gest chal­lenge was do­ing the world’s high­est hand­stand at 6,982 me­tres on the sum­mit of Mount Ama Dablam in the Ever­est re­gion of

Nepal. The chal­lenge took five weeks, which in­cluded trekking, mak­ing ac­cli­ma­ti­sa­tion climbs and sleep­ing on the side of Hi­malayan moun­tains in tiny tents – some­times in bliz­zards.

Mount Ama Dablam is a very steep, rocky ice peak so lots of rock climb­ing was in­volved, which I found ex­hil­a­rat­ing. But the night be­fore we headed out for the sum­mit I was ex­hausted, and perched dan­ger­ously on the moun­tain­side I texted my buddy Danae back in Australia say­ing I wanted to quit. She said “Control your mind, Di.” And I did.

I felt like I was do­ing it for the girls.

After strug­gling to the sum­mit, it took all my strength to hold a hand­stand while wear­ing 10kg of gear. But it felt great to be there.

The de­scent was also chal­leng­ing be­cause I couldn’t see the icy ground.

Once I got back to base camp I felt ab­so­lutely elated. When you chal­lenge your­self against na­ture, you de­velop an em­pow­er­ing men­tal tenac­ity. Ev­ery phys­i­cal feat makes me stronger, more con­fi­dent and more re­silient.”

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