Blonde on Everest. Interview with the first Ukrainian woman to reach the top

Irina Galai spent a year preparing to climb Everest

Mountaineer Irina Galai, which was the first of Ukrainian women have conquered mount Everest, gave an interview to a magazine Reporter.

The twentieth of may at four in the morning Irina climbed Everest, the highest mountain of the world (8.848 m above sea level). “It seems that you are looking down from space, because under the feet of the clouds,” she shares impressions with the Correspondent, writes Elena Marchenko in the No. 22 edition of June 10, 2016. — I was lucky with the weather — it was just the sun. Many of climbed only see fog and snow.

The first time I felt like in space, when we night rose to the top. Around was darkness, beneath us the cliffs. And that’s when you look at this cliff, the ground looks round. But the summit itself was a little disappointing. I imagined something posh, unusual, and in fact it turned out that this site is the size of a room where all the screaming and congratulating each other. Several groups of climbers reached the top at the same time, lifting different ways.”

— What was the most difficult thing when climbing and descending?

— I before climbing asked the same question to our guide Victor Bobko. He said that the most difficult thing will be waiting. And so it proved — we were a few days I had to sit in base camp, waiting for weather, acclimatization of the participants or when the workers will stretch the rope insurance. When the winds are strong, it is impossible to install. I even invited Viktor to climb without it, thank God, he didn’t listen to me. On top was a wind that, without tethers us easy to be demolished.

To sit in camp and wait out the weather window was very hard. For example, at the height 6.400 m I spent ten days. We slept on the rocks in sleeping bags, tents used to bring snow so that in the morning to breathe impossible. The hygiene issues had to be solved, not reacting to men, to shelter. There I understood: at the height of 5 thousand metres it does not matter you’re a man or a woman. All share a single desire — to survive. But I met interesting people, famous climbers Tim Mediacom [Tim Medvedz], who were shooting a piece for Discovery.

— The mountain was a group?

We went in a group with Victor Bobok and a guy from Moscow, Zhenya. With us were three Sherpas [the inhabitants of the mountainous areas of Nepal, providing climbers paid services]. They are amazing! One Sherpa accompanied me relentlessly, carrying my oxygen tanks.

— The press wrote about a pink ice pick and what you were carrying cosmetics. Is this true?

— Well of course! The fact that there is 40 degrees below zero, and cosmetics to the skin does not hurt. And ice pick I have intentionally painted in pink color and even rhinestones decorate it, because I’m blonde and want to look that way.

— And how did you feel in the mountains?

— The amazing thing is that my health was absolutely normal. I can easily tolerate the mountain air. Many climbers finish your hike by climbing the North Col — the top 7.020 m. in Order to get there, you need to climb the 300-metre vertical wall. I, as a climber, it was interesting. In the end, I’m the Sherpa who accompanied me, went up first, set up the tent.

— It’s no secret that before the serious climbs climbers trained for a long time…

— I’ve been practicing all year — went rock climbing, work on technique, parallel run, doing fit-cross and Boxing.

— This event is a huge cost…

Yes, climbing mount Everest cost me $ 65 thousand. Naturally, this apparel, gear, special shoes. About $ 10 thousand worth of special permission for climbing. On the spot — a wage Sherpas, food, accommodation…

My friends at first were in no hurry to help, but when I realized that I configured seriously, there were kind people… Now they are, incidentally, help to recover my guide Victor Bobko. The main thing is to set a goal and not give up. Then the financial problems will be solved.


This article was published in No. 22 of the magazine Reporter on June 10, 2016. Reprinting of publications of magazine Correspondent in full is prohibited. The rules of use of the magazine Reporter published on the website Корреспондент.net can be found here.