Lhakpa Sherpa, the most successful female Everest climber of all time, extended her legacy on Saturday when she made her eighth ascent of the world’s tallest mountain, breaking her own record. A Nepal native who now lives in Hartford, Connecticut, Lhakpa summited via the North Col around 6:35 a.m. Saturday morning, according to the Himalayan Times.
Despite her mountaineering feats, the 44-year-old has received little recognition for her accomplishments in the nearly two decades since she first summited Everest. On the eve of her seventh Everest ascent last spring, Outside published a feature about Lhakpa’s journey from Nepal to the U.S., her climbing prowess, and her abusive 12-year marriage to a Romanian-American climber from whom she recently divorced:
Lhakpa didn't train for Everest. She was born and raised above 13,000 feet and believes her strong will and genetics will get her to the top of the mountain, just as they have in the past. She has summited in fierce winds, in whiteouts, and eight months after the birth of her first daughter. She went back up Everest when she was two months pregnant with her second child, a fact the younger daughter holds firmly over her big sister’s head.
In 2000, Lhakpa became the first Nepalese woman to successfully summit and descend Everest—a feat she accomplished six times by 2006. However, after an altercation with her ex-husband George Dijmarescu on Everest, she retreated to Connecticut to raise her three children and took a ten-year hiatus from mountaineering. Last year, her marriage was legally dissolved and she embraced her liberation. Before summiting Everest the last spring, she told Outside, “I’m still thinking about the mountain. You know, my God, I need to go to Nepal.”