Bonita Morris

Bonita Norris

An Everest summiteer has offered her congratulations to the woman who broke her record as the youngest female Briton to get to the top of the world’s highest mountain.

Bonita Norris, who became the youngest British woman at the age of 22 to summit the mountain, lost her title to Becky Bellworthy, 20, at the weekend.

But the record was short-lived, as 24 hours later 19-year-old Briton Leanna Shuttleworth made it to the summit of Everest.

Karrimor-sponsored Ms Norris, who is Nepal preparing for an attempt on Everest’s neighbour Lhotse, said she hoped to meet Ms Shuttleworth in person, but said in a statement: “I’d like to congratulate Leanna on reaching the summit of Everest.

“It is a huge achievement and an incredible feeling to know that you have been to the highest point in the world. Leanna should be even more proud of her achievement as the conditions on Everest this year have been particularly hard with many expedition teams turning home due to poor conditions.

“There are so few female climbers in the UK and it will be great to have Leanna ‘on the team’ to help us all raise the profile of climbing, inspire more young people to realise their own personal dreams and ultimately, to encourage more people to get out into the great outdoors.

“I hope that I can congratulate Leanna in person on the mountain if our paths cross at base camp.”

Leanna Shuttleworth was born in England but moved to the Middle East when she was 10 and is now a Dubai resident.

Her Everest summit also completed her round of the Seven Summits – the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.

She had hoped to combine the Everest attempt with a climb of Lhotse, but poor conditions prevented the fixing of ropes on the lower mountain and she had to abandon the plan.

Bonita Norris this week also hopes to climb Lhotse, at 8,516m (27,940ft), the fourth highest mountain in the world.

Lhotse will be her third climb over 8,000m having climbed 8,156m (26,759ft) Manaslu as part of her Everest training making her the youngest woman in history reach the summit.

Ms Norris added: “This has not been an easy expedition so far as the conditions have been so touch and go. Never has the Everest and Lhotse season been marred by so much going against it – bad conditions, weeks of waiting for jet stream winds to abate, colossal avalanches wiping out entire camps and erratic rock fall off the mountain which has caused some nasty injuries.

“I am relieved to still be in one piece and that I remain in the running to attempt the climb in the coming days. I hope to be reporting back to you with good news in the next week.”

  • Kenton Cool: on the last push to Everest's summit

    Kenton Cool: on the last push to Everest's summit

    Meanwhile, the guide who took Ms Norris to the top of Everest has himself already reached an altitude of 8,500m (27,887ft) as he attempts his tenth summit of the world’s highest peak.

Kenton Cool, with fellow climber Dorje Gylgen and cameraman Keith Partridge set off from the South Col a few hours ago, carrying the Olympic gold medal he hopes to take to the summit to fulfil a pledge made by mountaineers in 1924.

He texted his British support team: “At 8,500m all well medal is giving us strength.” Up to 100 mountaineers are currently heading for the summit.

Last weekend, large queues were reported on the mountain as climbers lined up to tackle the Hillary Step, one of the last obstacles on the route to the top.

Four climbers died near the South Summit at the weekend from suspected high altitude cerebral oedema.

If Cool continues his current progress he should summit around 1am British Summer Time tomorrow.

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