A Brisbane teenager is preparing for her third attempt at becoming the youngest Australian to climb Mount Everest – and says she’s not put off by criticism.
Alyssa Azar, 19, has suffered the rare bad luck of having her record-breaking climbing bid cancelled twice while stationed at the mountain’s base camp.
The first cancellation was due to a deadly avalanche in April 2014 and the second because of the devastating Nepal earthquake in April this year.
Despite being snubbed by fellow climbers because of her youth, she is determined to make it to the top of the world’s highest mountain.
“I always knew I would go back, I haven’t hesitated,” she said.
“I have a love and a passion for it and it will be the greatest adventure.”
Although she has earned her stripes, having trekked through the Andes and completed Mount Kilimanjaro, she has encountered criticism in the climbing world because of her ambition.
“There was a lot of resistance when I was younger but I never let it bother me,” she said.
“I still get it now, even from other climbers who don’t think I take it seriously because I’m young and female.
“But as soon as they see me on the mountain they realise they’re wrong. It just makes me work harder.”
The tropical heat and beaches of Queensland make for an unusual backdrop for preparing for the alpine climb.
But Miss Azar is inventive, using the long sandy beaches as tough running tracks, Mount Coot-tha for endurance training and the Blue Mountains in NSW for abseiling practice.
If it does prove third time lucky for Miss Azar, she will become the youngest ever Australian to climb the mountain.
She will travel to the Himalayas in March before beginning the trek in April.