Saray Khumalo was just metres away from becoming the first black African woman to summit Mount Everest. The Zambian-born mountaineer who lives in South Africa was escorted down the mountain after facing high winds as she ascended from South Col (camp 4).
According to a Facebook post, expedition services company Asian Trekking assisted Khumalo during the descent. She was taken to a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, to receive treatment. “She was evacuated by helicopter earlier this morning to the hospital in Kathmandu where she is being treated for health issues due to exposure,” the social media post reads.
This was the mother of two’s third summit attempt and was part of her 7 Summits With a Purpose initiative which aimed to raise funds for the Mandela Library Projects and for a library in Hammanskraal, Pretoria, to be built.
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The social entrepreneur who’s also an executive at a financial institution made two unsuccessful attempts in 2014 and 2015. In April 2014, she had to abandon the climb after 16 sherpas, highly skilled mountain guides, lost their lives in an avalanche, and in 2015 because of the earthquake in Nepal. She did, however, manage to raise money for the Lunchbox Fund to feed more than 60 000 kids, for the Mandela Library Projects, and for the construction of a library for Isiziba Primary School in Thembisa, Johannesburg.
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In the Facebook post, details of her evacuation were shared and all those involved in ensuring her safe decent were thanked by the 7 Summits with a Purpose team: “It did not happen this time round, but the cause to bring the gift of reading to children continues. Thank you for your unwavering support during the expedition.”
Image from Facebook/@7summitswithapurpose