Two young school girls will make South African Everest history in April when they reach the mountain’s Southern Base Camp in Nepal at an altitude of 5 364 metres. Sisters Kim (12 years) and Julia Huysamer (13 years) depart for Kathmandu, Nepal, with their parents and other members of t he Streetschool Everest Base Camp Expedition on April 7 and hope to reach their goal 10 days later on April 17.
When they do, they will become the youngest ever sister pair to attain Everest Base Camp, and Kim the youngest ever South African. Last year, a 13 year old American boy, Jordan Romero, became the youngest person to summit the mountain.
The girls’ mother, Carolyn Huysamer, who will be accompanying the pair along with her husband, Martin, said: “Hiking to Everest Base Camp is a unique challenge, and we are all so excited to be doing this as a family. Kim and Julia are training
hard and we have full confidence in them reaching this goal.”
Added Kim: “I am so excited. For Julia and me, it is such a privilege to experience with our parents. We are training hard and will do our best to reach Everest Base Camp to plant the South African flag!”
There are three other young girls in the group – Bianca Bailey (16), Bernadette Burger (16) and Alexandra von Bardeleben (17). All attend St Mary’s School in Waverley, Johannesburg.
This expedition is managed by Streetschool, a people development company founded by ex-advertising executive, Klasie Wessels. Streetschool specialises in helping people develop life and social skills through unique, practical experiences that assist personal growth and development. According to Wessels, Everest Base Camp expedition will give all participants new levels of personal insight, regardless of their age.
“At Streetschool, we believe that it is through experiences like this Everest Base Camp expedition that lead to real change, and a change that endures long after the adventure is over. Attaining Everest Base Camp will be an amazing physical accomplishment that will move each individual into a new physical and personal dimension as both young and old encounter a different world to the one they live in every day.
“To prepare for the mental challenges of this expedition and help them assimilate and use their experiences to their advantage, we’ll be coaching the girls in the months before we leave, as well as mentoring them every step of the way to
Base Camp. They will see the summit of Mount Everest with their own eyes, but they will also be encouraged to look inwards and develop a greater self understanding of who they are and who they want to be,” he said.
An avid adventurer, Wessels has done this trip twice including climbing Island Peak in 2008 and Aconcagua in Argentina for charity in 2010. He prepared a rigorous training programme for the 15 members of the expedition, including a weekend hike in the Sani Pass area with a summit of Thaba Ntlenyana in Lesotho at 3,482 meters the highest point in Southern Africa.
To add more meaning to the expedition, the St Mary’s girls have decided to raise money for a school in Kathmandu. Mother Winnie Burger has bought the five pedometers and arranged a sponsor who will pay for each kilometre walked during training as well as a lump sum for each girl making it to Base Camp.
Established in 1888, St Mary’s, is the oldest school in Johannesburg. Headmistress Deanne King wished her scholars and their parents well with their epic hike, saying that the very idea of attaining Base Camp reflects the spirit and courage the
school tries to instil in its pupils.
“This school promotes excellence in all we do and encourages the St Mary’s girls to become grounded, real young women who have a strong sense of their roles in the world. It also provides the resources for girls with diverse interests and
abilities to be the best they can be.
“Streetschool Everest Base Camp 2012 meets the bill; I have no doubt Kim, Julia, Bianca, Bernadette and Alexandra will return next term having learnt a great deal about themselves and having realised that they have an inner strength that will serve them the rest of their lives.”
The full list of South Africa hikers is: Martin and Carolyn Huysamer with daughters, Julia and Kim; Allan Bailey and his daughter, Bianca; Walter von Bardeleben and his daughter, Alexandra; Winnie Burger and her daughter, Bernadette;
expedition leader Klasie Wessels; and his support staff team Sue Pearson, Lorna Greig and Petra Peacock. They will be joined by Elizabeth Watters and her son, Lloyd, from London.