Adele Pennington

Adele Pennington Interview taken in 2007

Adele has been mountaineering since 1990 and has been a popular instructor and expedition leader for Jagged Globe and Adventureworks since 2001. In August 2004, she joined Jagged Globe full time. She is currently the only British woman to have climbed Mount Everest twice.

You are the only British female climber to have climbed Mount Everest twice, how does that make you feel?

It makes me feel honoured to have reached the top twice and also very lucky to have had the chance.

You have climbed Everest via its South Col – South East Ridge route, is there another route you would like to try?

I would very much like to climb it from the North next.

Do the Sherpa’s look after females better than males while on Mount Everest?

I have an excellent relationship with my Sherpa’s, as I am a guide they treat me with respect as I do them. We all look after each other.

Did you find Everest easier the second time round or just as tough as your first trip?

I think it was harder the second time around as I knew exactly how far there was to go.

Did you take any ‘woman’ comforts with you on any of your Everest climbs?

Yes, my Teddy that comes everywhere with me. He has summited twice.

When Alison Hargreaves started climbing the likes of Everest and K2 many people said that she should not be climbing dangerous mountains and should remain at home to look after her young family. Do you think this still applies today?

It was so sad that Alison got some bad publicity. She was an outstanding mountaineer and was earning her living to feed her family. I believe that we should do as we feel is right for us and respect that everyone’s family circumstances are different.

Would you have given up your summit bid to help a complete stranger who was in need of urgent help?

Yes, I would.

Once on the summit did you remove your oxygen mask, if so did it have any effect on you?

Yes I removed my mask and after a few minutes I could feel the difference and found it difficult to focus on a simple task of taking photographs.

In 1998 you had an accident whilst climbing and broke your back and pelvis. Did you at that time think your love for climbing would be over?

After my accident I was told that I would always have a limp, restricted mobility and would experience a considerable amount of pain, for a while I thought I would never climb again. My friend’s family and physiotherapist worked hard with me and after 6 months I managed to climb very easy routes again and struggled around Blencathra.

Do you think that George Mallory and Andrew Irvine climbed the Second Step?

There is no doubt in my mind that they did.