Hong Kong Teacher Becomes Fastest Woman to Climb Mount Everest: 'Luck Is Very Important'

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PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP via Getty

Tsang Yin-hung has become the fastest woman to scale Mount Everest, with more than 13 hours to spare.

The Hong Kong teacher, 45, made her ascent from the base camp at 17,390 feet to the world's highest peak at 29,032 feet in 25 hours and 50 minutes, before arriving back in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Sunday, May 23.

"I just feel kind of relief and happy because I am not looking for breaking a record," she said, according to the New York Post. "I feel relieved because I can prove my work to my friends, to my students."

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In reaching the peak, Tsang beat the previous record of 39 hours and six minutes, which was set by a Nepali mountain guide named Phunjo Jhangmu Lama in 2018.

Tsang only stopped twice to change clothes between the base camp and the summit, and she credits "luck" with not encountering many other climbers on the way up. After reaching the highest camp at South Col, she only crossed paths with those making their descent, which didn't slow her down. "For the summit, it is not just not your ability, team work, I think luck is very important," Tsang said.

Michael C. Klesius/National Geographic/Getty Mount Everest

PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP via Getty

Born in mainland China, she moved with her family to Hong Kong when she was 10 years old, according to Agence Frances-Presse. As her family had "no resources," she took joy in school sports, which were free to participate in. "When I was young I used to run on the mountains, play basketball and do other sports," Tsang said.

She began training as a mountaineer 11 years ago, and she ascended Mount Everest for the first time in 2017, becoming the first woman from Hong Kong to do so. Tsang attempted to make her latest climb earlier in May, but she was met with poor weather conditions, forcing her to stop short.

"I am ... relaxed and happy because I set this target around four years before," she told AFP. "I have always shared with my students and my friends that if you aim high and expect high, you can achieve high."

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Tsang's achievement comes amid several record-breaking summits. Retired Chicago lawyer Arthur Muir recently became the oldest person to climb Everest at 75 years old. Nepali climber Kami Rita Sherpa racked up the most summits, breaking his own record with his 25th climb.

Nepal has issued a record 408 Everest permits this climbing season, after last year's season was deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. As many of 350 people have summited the mountain this spring, and four have died.

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