Highs and lows of a record breaker
A BRITISH-American explorer has become the first woman to reach Earth’s highest and lowest points.
After scaling the peak of Mount Everest in 2012, Vanessa O’Brien has now travelled via submersible to the bottom of Challenger Deep.
It is the deepest known point in the Earth’s seabed, located 1,600 miles east of the Philippines in the western Pacific.
Diving more than 35,000ft below the surface, Vanessa’s June 12, voyage saw her spend three hours at the bottom, where her craft endured eight tonnes of pressure.
Dual citizen Vanessa, 55, who moved to London in 1999 where she met her husband James, said: “It may sound funny but I found the Everest and Challenger Deep experiences very similar.
“Oxygen is in short supply, you’re sitting for long hours or you’re standing, you’re climbing or moving very slowly.
“And they both have a ‘summit’ moment – the top or the bottom.
“But they’re incredibly beautiful places and it’s always an honour to visit them.”
In 2017 Vanessa became the first British or American woman to climb K2, the second-highest peak in the world. A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, she has also skied to both the North and South Pole.
The explorer at the top of Everest