A renowned Norwegian mountaineer, who is in the race to beat the world mountaineering record set by British Nepalese climber Nirmal Purja, had to cancel her trip through the mountains of Nepal due to administrative obstructions imposed by the Chinese Communist Party.

The mountaineer Kristin Harila began her journey six months ago with the goal of reaching the summit of the fourteen highest mountains on the planet. In 105 days, she was able to climb eleven mountains. The first was Annapurna, a massif in Nepal’s Himalayan range. It has up to six peaks over 7000 meters high, and Annapurna I is the highest, at 8091 meters or (26,545 ft). It is one of the most dangerous mountains on earth, with a survival rate for climbers of 5.56%.

The 36-year-old Norwegian continued her journey and also climbed Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Nanga Parbat, K2, Broad Peak, and Gasherbrum II in Pakistan.

On July 22, she reached the summit of Everest for the second time and broke her own record, again becoming the first woman in the world to reach the summit of Everest and Lhotse in just nine hours.

Since beginning her journey to conquer the world’s highest mountains, Kristin Harila has broken several records along with her team of Sherpas. Kristin’s team became the fastest in the world to climb five mountains in 24 days. In doing so, she surpassed the previous record of Nirmal Purja, who took 29 days to climb five peaks over 8,000 meters high.

On September 22, after a difficult ascent due to heavy snowfall and avalanche danger, Harila reached the summit of Manaslu, accompanied by the two Sherpas, Pasdawa Sherpa and Dawa Ongju Sherpa. One of the eight highest mountains in the world, it is located in the Mansiri Himal massif, part of the Himalayas in west-central Nepal.

“This was difficult, but we wanted to get to the top of Manaslu now to avoid the crowds of climbers waiting at base camp. Heavy snowfall and high avalanche risk made this ascent a challenge, so I’m glad we made it,” said the Norwegian climber.

After that difficult ascent, Harila had until November 2 to break Nirmal Purja’s record and reach the summit of Cho Oyu (8,201 m) and Shisha Pangma (8,027 m).

To advance on the next eight-thousanders, the climber needed express permission from the Chinese Communist Party; although Cho You can be accessed through Nepal, Shisha Pangma is on Tibetan land. The Tibet region is considered an autonomous province of the People’s Republic of China. However, the Chinese communist regime rules and has the ultimate authority.

The British Nepalese mountaineer, Nirmal Purja, had to wait several days in 2019 to finally receive permission from the Chinese communist authorities to climb Shisha Pangma. He had to ask for help from the Nepalese government, which represented him vis-à-vis the Chinese regime, to be granted the authorization to access the Tibetan mountain.

Kristin Harila had to go through a similar experience. While waiting for the permit, she tried, together with her team of Sherpas, to open access through Cho You on the Nepalese side so as not to depend on the Chinese authorities. She failed as weather conditions became more difficult than usual.

Therefore, the only option left was to wait for permission from the Chinese authorities. On October 28, the climber posted on her Instagram account that she was unable to obtain the long-awaited permit, “We have left no stone unturned in this process, and have exhausted all possible avenues to get it, but unfortunately, for reasons beyond our control, we were unable to get the permits in time.”

“As you all know, I put everything I had on the line to make it happen, and coming up short with 2 picks left due to factors beyond my control is something I’m having a hard time processing right now,” Kristin said on her Instagram.

She also vowed to return next year and complete her challenge to reach the 14 highest peaks in the world in less than six months.

“In times of adversity you have to find the inner strength, that’s why I’m letting you know that I’m coming back, and I’m going to complete this record next year!” the mountaineer concluded.

With relatively little experience, Norwegian Kristin Harila, 36, left her job and city life to enjoy the mountains. On an organized trip to Kilimanjaro (19,341′) in 2015, Harila suffered a setback when she became blinded by severe altitude sickness. However, determined to reach the summit she persevered, and her new pursuit became an obsession.

She conquered her next peak after Kilimanjaro in Nepal, ascending Putha Chuli at 23,773 ft (7,246 m) in 2019.

After the pandemic, she returned to Nepal for more challenges and reached the summit of Everest in May 2021, becoming the fastest woman in the world to conquer the highest mountain on the planet.

When she started the “Bremont 14 Peaks” challenge, she beat her previous records along with her Sherpas. However, some experts and mountaineering fans criticized using helicopters to move from one base camp to another and using oxygen support at high altitudes.

When asked in an interview about her strategy for reaching the highest peaks and whether she was worried about being criticized for it, Kristin replied, “It’s something I don’t worry too much about. Oxygen or not, climbing 14 peaks in six months is an tremendous effort anyway. Most people who climb these peaks do so with oxygen and it is still a very demanding task.”

The Norwegian climber was well on her way to achieving her goal and becoming the first woman in the world to climb the 14 highest peaks on the planet in less than six months; however, she encountered an unexpected obstacle that she could not overcome: the intransigence of the Chinese Communist Party regime.

Kristin Harila could safely access the world’s highest mountain, Everest, and continue to climb the remaining 11 peaks, despite adverse weather and other unexpected difficulties. Her iron will helped her to conquer the highest peaks on the planet. However, her dream of demonstrating to the world the remarkable resilience and strength of the human spirit was shattered when she requested and was refused a simple permit from one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes.

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