Kristin Harila becomes first woman to summit all 8000m peaks in a year

Posted on 8 May 2023 By David Henning

Kristin Harila, a Norwegian climber, made mountaineering history by scaling the world’s 14 peaks above 8 000 meters in a year, the fastest climb on record by a woman.

On Wednesday morning, 3 May, Harila summited Mt Cho Oyu in the Himalayas, the world’s sixth highest peak at 8 188 metres – her last remaining mountain.

The world record is currently held by Nirmal Purja, who summited all of the world’s 8 000-metre mountains in a single season, which he achieved in six months and six days.

Harila was chasing Purja’s record, where her climbing team – Pasdawa Sherpa and Dawa Ongchu – scaled 12 of the world’s 14 8,000-meter peaks in five months.


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The previous record in the women’s category was held by Spanish climber, Edurne Pasaban Lizarribar, who took eight years and three months to summit all peaks.

‘The mountains are a great equalizer,” Melissa Arnot Reid told the New York Times (NYT), who has been an Everest guide since 2008 and was the first American woman to summit the world’s highest peak without supplemental oxygen. ‘They don’t care what your gender is.’

She also added however that ‘the reality is way more nuanced than that. To get to the mountains, you have to get to the base. And that’s expensive. This is a colonial activity. It’s really white, and it’s really wealthy, and it’s really male.’

In 1994, when Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, an Austrian mountaineer, attempted to summit all 14 peaks without bottled oxygen, she had no choice but to wear the smallest-sized men’s gear. This was the same issue faced by mountaineer Caroline Gliech 25 years later for her “Climb for Equality“.

‘When you can’t even find equipment that fits you,’ Gleich told the NYT, ‘it sends a powerful message about where the world says you belong.’

According to, which keeps records of summits and related statistics, of the 56 climbers who claimed to have summited them all, six are women.

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