SARAH DAVIS | THE FIRST WOMAN TO PADDLE THE NILE
Sarah Davis is a pioneer, who intends to be the first woman to paddle the length of the river Nile, the world’s longest river. The Nile flows along some 6,850km, from its source in Rwanda, through to the end in Egypt where it meets the Mediterranean Sea, arguably some of the most dangerous places on the planet. In doing so she aims to raise $100,000 for Care Australia, who are dedicated to ending global poverty.
Our conversation goes way deeper than the insane preparation and logistics of this epic challenge, including a brave discussion on a woman’s right to decide not to have children but still honouring their maternal instincts and leading a deeply rich, fulfilled and free life.
It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. – Sir Edmund Hillary
Valuable Links and References
- Paddle the Nile
- 180 Degrees South
- Forefront Healthy Brain Research Project
CONQUEROR OF MT. EVEREST
“We didn’t know if it was humanly possible to reach the top of Mt. Everest. And even using oxygen as we were, if we did get to the top, we weren’t at all sure whether we wouldn’t drop dead or something of that nature.”
On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary and a Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, set foot on the 29,028-foot (8,848-metre) summit of Everest, the highest point on earth. They had succeeded where others had failed, and had survived a journey that had taken the lives of great explorers before them and many since.
Hillary joined a British expedition to climb Everest in 1953, led by British mountaineer John Hunt and 400 others. It was in May, and the expedition was trying to stay ahead of the monsoon snows. Different climbers in the expedition would be chosen to make the assault on Everest. After an earlier pair had to retire 300 feet short of the summit, Hillary and a Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, recognised as the strongest and fittest in the team, were chosen to try the ascent.
After an uncomfortable night, they left the last camp at South Col in the freezing chill dawn of May 29th, 1953. Five hours later, at 11:30am, Hillary, who was leading the climb at this point, stepped onto the summit.
…I then realised that the ridge ahead, instead of still monotonously rising, now dropped sharply away, and far below I could see the North Col and the Rongbuk Glacier. I looked upwards to see a narrow snow ridge running up to a snowy summit. A few more whacks of the ice-axe in the firm snow, and we stood on the top.”
Until that year, Edmund Hillary had lived in relative obscurity as a beekeeper in Auckland, New Zealand, but the unprecedented feat of scaling the world’s highest mountain brought him a fame he could hardly have imagined. In the years that followed, he led expeditions to the South Pole and other remote corners of the earth, but he returned often to the mountains of Nepal, the scene of his greatest triumph. Now that his mountain climbing days are behind him, Sir Edmund Hillary devotes his energies to environmental causes and to humanitarian efforts on behalf of the Nepalese people.
A self-described “average bloke,” Sir Edmund Hillary made one of the century’s landmark feats seem properly human and straightforward. His most famous quotation after summiting Mount Everest with Tenzing Norgay on May 29, 1953, isn’t anything pretentious or enigmatic but rather a simple aside to expedition mate George Lowe: “Well, George, we knocked the bastard off.” He went on to knock off another half-dozen Himalayan peaks, drove a tractor to the South Pole, took jet-boats up the Ganges, and launched the Himalayan Trust, which has built 30 schools, two hospitals, and 12 medical clinics in Nepal’s Khumbu region, and gave proper honours to his climbing partner, Tenzing Norgay, right up until Norgay died 13 years ago.
It’s never easy, but it’s almost always possible.