You may have heard people exaggerate that they ”walked to school uphill, both ways, in three feet of snow,” but 36-year-old Norwegian Kristin Harila may soon have them all beat. She is undertaking an epic endeavor to climb up 14 full-sized mountains. These summits are the tallest in the world– each peak reaching up through the atmosphere at over 8,000 meters. To make it even more of a challenge, she intends to conquer them all in a short span of only six months.
Harila, who hails from the very flat municipality of Vadsø in far northern Norway, doesn’t do anything half-way. She cross-country skied competitively on a national level between the ages of 16 and 23. Then she got fully absorbed into her business career as an executive, bringing her athletic training to a near standstill. Looking for something new, she quit her job and took up trail running.
Her interest in climbing was sparked in 2015 after an invigorating hike up and down Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro in 2015. In 2021, she set a world record as the fastest woman to climb Mount Everest and neighboring behemoth Lhotse, scaling both in under 12 hours.
Starting in the Himalayas on April 28, 2022, Harila and her team took on Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and the third highest summit, Kangchenjunga. She beat her own speed record for surmounting Everest and Lhotse by taking only 9 hours. She completed the fifth-tallest mountain Makalu on May 29th. Six down, eight to go.
Harila is currently on pace to surpass Nirmal Purja of Nepal’s earth-shattering record of six months and six days. Before his speed run in 2019, the fastest recorded time was eight years. Only 44 people have ever climbed all 14 peaks. Upon Harila’s success, she will be the overall world record holder as well as the fastest woman and the first Scandinavian to complete this epic challenge.
You can learn more about Harila’s adventures here: Six Down, Eight to Go: Interview with Kristin Harila » Explorersweb
To see a photo of Harila with all of her gear, visit her Instagram.