Alyssa Azar – Mountaineer, Climber, Adventurer

At the tender age of 8, most kids are content with riding bikes, going to school and playing with their friends.

Alyssa Azar however, was no ordinary 8 year old. In 2005 she crossed the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea with her dad, (trainer and mentor – Glen); becoming the youngest person ever to do so. From that trek onwards, she had high hopes to tackle some of the most famous hikes and climbs the world has to offer, and has trekked in Nepal, completed the Everest Base Camp trek at age 10, the Kokoda treks numerous times, Mt Kosciuszko and the Aussie 10 (the 10 highest peaks in Australia) at age 12, and Mt Kilimanjaro at 14 years old. Not only is she a remarkable climber and trekker, but she also won an Australian boxing title.

Alyssa completed a mountaineering course in NZ in 2011, and has since climbed in South America and Nepal. While other 18 year olds were out partying Alyssa was in training for the biggest adventure of her life, and in May this year, she became the youngest Australian to reach Mount Everest’s summit.

Alyssa’s major sponsors Mountain Design caught up with her after her return with a few questions about her successful summit.

Can you talk me through the different stages of the climb?

I took the south side route in Nepal to climb Everest, and it started with a trek in the Base Camp which was about 9 or 10 days. We started at a place called Lukla, which took us to Everest base camp. From there we started our acclimatisation process. It’s a 2 month expedition so we started by doing our rotations; by climbing up to Camp 2, and then coming back down, and then we did 2 rotations heading up to Camp 3 before we actually went for the summit push.

What was the final summit push like?

When we left the last camp, I felt quite strong on summit day, even with the altitude I felt pretty good and we were moving at a good pace. It’s pretty surreal after all the years of preparation and planning and training to think it all comes down to this one day; this is the summit day. That was an amazing feeling, I remember we arrived at the South summit which was maybe 2 hours from the actual summit and you can see that last little ridge line. It was about then that I knew was going to summit, and when I actually did it, it was quite surreal to be standing there.

What did it feel like to reach the top of the world?

It was mixed emotions when I arrived at the summit, those last few steps; and then actually standing there, a lot of things go through your head. I was just thinking about taking it all in, you have to keep telling yourself, ‘I’m actually on the summit of Mt. Everest’, and there’s almost disbelief. It’s a mixed feeling because you’re really excited and you’re happy, but at the same time you know you’ve got to get back down; and that is equally as challenging in some ways because you’re more exhausted. I was also just making sure I kept focused for the climb back down as well.

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