On Friday, Year 7 & 8 were joined by world-renowned climber and runner and Westonbirt parent, Rebecca Ferry. The mother of five is the first British women to make it to the summit of K2 (the savage mountain) in Pakistan, which is the second tallest mountain in the world. Before climbing, Beck was a competitive runner who competed in courses such as the Marathon Costa Rica Coastal Challenge, which is a 236-kilometre race through mountains and crocodile-and-cobra-infested waters.
During her presentation, she inspired Key Stage 3 students with the words;
“If you ever doubt yourself, you just have to keep the faith and try to really believe in yourself and have a go. Life for me is all about getting out there. So many people say, ‘oh you can’t do that’ or ‘you shouldn’t do that’ and I just think, why not? It is so important to set yourself some goals and it doesn’t matter if you don’t reach them. It is all about enjoying the process and taking the first steps towards trying something new.”
Her journey started in November 2019 when she summited AMA Dablam, a mountain in the eastern Himalayan range of Province No. 1, Nepal. The main peak is 6,812 metres with the lower western peak at 6,170 metres. In 2020, she achieved her dream of climbing to the Summit of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world at 8,849 meters.
“To stand on the top of Everest is a pretty amazing feeling, but you had to always be careful of your surroundings because you had to cross the Khumbu Icefall, which is an extremely dangerous and ever-changing icefall. When I was climbing, just 100 metres ahead, two Sherpas fell into a section of ice and had to be air lifted off the mountain and rushed to hospital.”
The day after climbing Everest, Rebecca hiked to Lhotse, which is the fourth highest mountain in the world. Achieving this incredible feat made her the second British women and only the twentieth women in the world to complete this climbing combination, called then ‘Everest Lhotse Climb Double.
Reflecting on her journey from school, Mrs Ferry told pupils;
“When I look back at being your age, I spent a lot of time outside and I took part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award where I learnt to read a map and read a mountain. These skills have been really beneficial in my later life.”
Mrs Ferry’s amazing mountaineering achievements also include climbing Manaslu (the eighth highest mountain), Makalu (fifth highest mountain) and Dhaulagiri (seventh highest mountain) as well as recently climbing frozen waterfalls in Switzerland. Aside from her climbing portfolio, Rebecca enjoyed a successful running career, competing in the Everest Trail Race, Marathon Des Sables and Country to Capital.
Before setting the students off on a challenge to collectively climb the equivalent amount of stairs around Westonbirt as scaling Everest, she told them;
“I know there are times at school when you probably think you don’t want to do something but just take little steps and it’s so important to tell yourself that you can do these things and to keep going and persevere.”