Aim­ing for peak men­tal health

Climber gears up for 7 Sum­mits Chal­lenge

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - METRO - AM­BER COURT am­ber.court@inl.co.za

SOME peo­ple deal with their anx­i­ety with med­i­ca­tion or ther­apy. But ex­treme high-al­ti­tude moun­tain climber Remy Kloos tack­les hers by hik­ing some of the world’s high­est moun­tains.

The 31-year-old from Cape Town quit her cor­po­rate job at the end of 2017 to self-fund her at­tempt on the 7 Sum­mits Chal­lenge, which in­volves climb­ing the seven high­est moun­tains in the world – Ever­est, Aconcagua, McKin­ley, Kil­i­man­jaro, El­brus, Vin­son and Carstensz Pyra­mid.

She hopes to be­come the youngest South African to com­plete the gru­elling en­durance chal­lenge, which she plans to do by next year.

She also plans to be the first African woman to com­plete a dou­ble sum­mit – reach­ing the top of both Mount Ever­est and the top of Mount Lhotse – the high­est and fourth high­est moun­tains in the world, all within 24 hours.

With four moun­tains con­quered, next up will be Ocea­nia for the Carstensz Pyra­mid, which may be post­poned due to po­lit­i­cal and civil un­rest in the In­done­sian prov­ince of Pa­pua.

It’s been a phys­i­cal and emo­tional chal­lenge for Kloos, who was di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion at the age of 17. Af­ter suf­fer­ing from anx­i­ety for much of her twen­ties, she de­cided to over­come that ob­sta­cle by learn­ing the ropes of moun­taineer­ing in 2016.

The next year, she sum­mited Mount Kil­i­man­jaro, Africa’s high­est moun­tain.

“I had a mo­ment of re­al­i­sa­tion that climb­ing was my pur­pose. Af­ter a few climbs I re­alised I wanted to turn it into a 7 Sum­mits quest, which I am on now.”

Dan­gers of ex­treme high-al­ti­tude moun­tain climb­ing in­clude avalanches and death from hy­per­ther­mia and heart at­tacks as a re­sult in the de­crease of oxy­gen.

Kloos col­lects funds through climb­ing for char­ity and has raised R500000 to­wards the up­grad­ing of the Dlala Nje Foun­da­tion in Jo­han­nes­burg.

“I think moun­tains chose me. When I climb I am com­pletely at peace. There is some­thing beau­ti­ful about this process of moun­taineer­ing,” Kloos said.

“I want to em­power youth and women and those who suf­fer from men­tal ill­ness. I’ve learnt that it does not de­fine you.”

SUP­PLIED

MOUN­TAIN climber Remy Kloos plans to be the first African woman to com­plete a dou­ble sum­mit within 24 hours. |

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