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  Vicky Jack Summits Everest: Her story


The second time was the charm for 51-year-old Scottish climber Vicky Jack who was one of several climbers to summit Everest on May 15-16, 2004. Vicky’s first attempt, during May 2003, was turned back by bad weather about 300 feet short of the summit. The first break in the weather this year allowed Vicky and several other climbers from various countries as well as several Sherpa to reach the summit. Attempts by earlier climbers to reach the summit were abandoned because of hurricane force winds.

Vicky, a resident of Balquhidder, Perthshire, is the oldest British woman to reach the summit and the first Scotswoman to complete the Seven Summits by climbing the tallest peaks on each of the seven continents. She is the second Scotswoman to summit the world’s tallest mountain following Polly Murray, who conquered the peak in May 2000.

Vicky runs her own consulting firm when she’s not challenging the highest peaks in the world. She quit her job as head of personnel with North of Scotland Water in 1997 to concentrate on her quest for the Seven Summits. Her summits that first year included Mt. Elbrus and Mt. Kilimanjaro, completing the European and African legs of the Seven Summits. She would climb one of the Seven Summits each of the next four years, completing all but Everest by August 2001.

As part of her training in those early years Vicky would trek through the Munros, Scotland’s highest mountain range, carrying a rucksack full of telephone directories. In preparing for the extremes of Everest, where climbers burn through an estimated 4,300 calories and 8-liters of fluid per day, Vicky consumed dozens of cans of Irn-Bru, Scotland’s most popular caffeinated soft drink, to try to add on some extra weight before the expedition.  Even so she remained “only a slight slim wee thing” according to friends. The lack of extra bulk didn’t seem to dim Vicky’s stamina or enthusiasm for reaching the summit.

Her climbing partners were expedition leader Henry Todd of Kingussie, Inverness-shire and his wife Susan. Forty-four year-old Susan became the second British woman to summit Everest this year, and only the third Scotswoman to do so. Vicky capped her achievement by planting a Scottish Saltire (a type of flag with a diagonal cross that reaches the corners of the flag) atop the mountain as she had done on each of the other peaks in the Seven Summits.

 
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