In search of up: Reaching for Everest together

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Several weeks ago, Simone Giuliani shared with you the story of the mass everesting event organised by Hells500. Twenty two women spent 20 hours doing repeated climbs and descents of Mt Donna Buang near Melbourne in attempt to complete an Everesting – cycling multiple laps of one climb to achieve a vertical ascent equal to the world’s tallest mountain. Twenty of the women would reach the 8,848 metre mark to successfully complete the challenge. Collectively, these women climbed 202,584 metres in total.

(We’ll let that one sink in for a minute.)

All activities were recorded by Strava, so it seems only fitting that the California-based company would share the story of the incredible feat. Katya Crema, one of the women who whole-heartedly tackled the challenged, wrote about her experience in coming together with a group to accomplish a seemingly unattainable goal.


What does Mount Everest have to do with cycling? Up until a few weeks back, I was asking myself the same thing.

It all started when the founder of Hells 500 and Domestique came to me with a suggestion. He asked if I would be interested in attempting an “Everesting” up Mount Donna Buang. The concept is a reasonably straight forward one. “Climb the equivalent of sea level to the summit of Mt. Everest (8,848m) in one ride, simply by doing repeats of a single hill.” Easy as that.

In reality, not so easy. At this stage I had ridden Mount Donna Buang once. 9 laps up Donna was almost inconceivable. After hearing stories of this outrageous concept buzzing around the Melbourne cycling scene, the idea intrigued me, however I have to admit that there was no huge desire to complete one myself. It was merely a far-fetched craze that seemed only for the foolish. It was then that I found out I would not be alone. The plan was for 25 girls to take on the challenge together. Now this intrigued me! I couldn’t resist the chance of being apart of something so unique, so powerful, something entirely positive for women’s cycling and women’s sport in general. So I accepted the challenge.

I have been a National Ski Team athlete on the Australian Team for eight years and have competed in two Winter Olympics. This challenge well and truly forced me out of my comfort zone. The plan for this summer (my first summer in Australia in 13 years…) was to be a little more relaxed than previous years. Decrease the training volume and intensity, and do a few more things for fun. Little did I know it would be a summer filled with more blood, sweat and tears than I could have imagined.

Click here to continue reading Katya’s story on Strava.

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