A Hartford, Connecticut, woman without a lick of mountain climbing training defied all odds by climbing the world’s tallest mountain for a record-breaking ninth time at 5:40 a.m. on May 16. Lhakpa Sherpa first climbed Mount Everest in 2000 — eight months after the birth of her first child, while she was two months pregnant with her second, The Himalayan Times reports.
No other woman in the world has achieved this milestone, but Lhakpa isn’t stopping yet. The 44-year-old plans to make the 29,029-foot-high trek at least one more time, and it’s all for a good cause.
“I have been climbing mountains for women’s empowerment,” Lhakpa told the outlet. The Nepal native once dreamed of becoming a doctor or a pilot, but Sherpa women weren’t allowed to go to school. So instead, this supermom walks two miles to Whole Foods, where she works as a dishwasher to provide for her daughters, 11-year-old Shiny and 16-year-old Sunny, and her 21-year-old son, Nima.
“You would never know she hiked Everest unless you knew her and talked to her about it,” Whole Foods’ hiring manager Dan Furtado told SF Gate. “She’s the most humble person I know, and her work ethic is astounding.”
But becoming a mountaineer was difficult. Lhakpa’s family discouraged her from climbing, and the first Nepali woman to attempt to reach Everest’s summit, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, died on the descent in 1993. Nonetheless, Lhakpa and five other women convinced the government to give them permits to climb, and she made it out alive. For more motivational anecdotes that’ll make you want to get up and move, here are 15 weight loss stories that will inspire you.