In February 2013, I interviewed Imalka de Silva, the first Lankan woman to visit Antarctica. She accomplished this feat in March 2010 when she joined an international team who spent two weeks on an expedition to the frozen continent.
I have just interviewed an experienced Lankan mountaineering duo, Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala and Johann Peries, who plan to be the first Sri Lankans to reach the summit of Mt. Everest in the forthcoming Spring mountaineering season.
They have both individually and as a team successfully completed some of the world’s most challenging treks in Asia, Africa and Latin America – not to mention all key peaks in Sri Lanka.
Mount Everest is located in the Mahalangur mountain range in Nepal and Tibet, and its peak is 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level. It has so far been reached by over 4,000 people from many countries.
Professionally, Jayanthi is a women’s rights and gender expert while Johann is a hair and make-up designer and performing artist. They are dedicating this climb to their families, to the causes they advocate (conservation, gender equality and healthy living), and to every child, woman and man of Sri Lanka.
They plan to be part of a larger team led by International Mountain Guides (IMG), a globally renowned mountaineering company which has led several successful Mt. Everest expeditions over the past 30 years.
Read my full interview in The Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka), 28 Feb 2016: