Leanna in Everest attempt
PUBLISHED: 11:16 19 March 2012 | UPDATED: 21:11 20 February 2013
Buckinghamshire-born student Leanna Shuttleworth hopes to climb her way to a world record in April
Leanna Shuttleworth, 18, will begin a world record attempt in April to become the first woman ever to climb two 8,000m high mountains in 24 hours. The Buckinghamshire-born student aims to climb Mt Everest (8,848m) and Mt Lthotse (8,516m) back-to-back in record time and will be accompanied by her long-term climbing partner, her dad.
Halfway through her attempt, Leanna will already have notched up another accolade once she reaches the top of Mt Everest, Leanna will become the youngest British woman ever to have completed the Seven Summits Challenge (SSC). The SSC requires climbers summit the highest mountain on each of the worlds continents, including Mt Kilimanjaro, Mt Elbrus, Mt Denali, Mt Aconcagua, Mt Koscuisko, Mt Vinson Massif and Mt Everest. In total the SCC will have taken her 138 days to achieve not including training.
Leanna said: Its going to be very challenging physically and mentally, so Ive been training hard to prepare especially for the extremely low temperatures and high altitude, where well need breathing apparatus. But I am feeling confident and I really hope that my climb will encourage other young women to get involved with the sport, which is so traditionally male.
Women are just as capable of climbing mountains and Im proud to be one of a number of young British women who are now active in the sport. I also hope that my achievements might inspire someone to realise that they can achieve their dreams, however far-fetched they may seem.
Leanna has only been involved in climbing for the past four years, but if she completes the challenge she will have carved out a unique role for women in the sport. Leanna is raising money for The Vitiligo Society a charity which she says has transformed the wellbeing of her mother who suffers from the skin condition.
Jennifer Viles from The Vitiligo said: Around one person in 100 suffers with vitiligo and yet very few people are aware of it and it is often misunderstood by the medical profession. We are determined to change this and continue working to help people deal with the physical and psychological impact of living with a visible condition. We are so grateful to Leanna for shining the light on vitiligo and to helping us to develop the work that we do.
Leanna recently became the youngest British woman to successfully reach Antarctica's highest peak and now holds the record as the youngest British woman to scale the highest mountains on three continents: North America, South America and the Antarctic.
But her climbs have not been without difficulty. As well as dealing with temperatures as low as -58c, carrying kit weighing the same as the average British woman and dealing with frost nip, Leanna has also tragically had to cope with the deaths of two climbing friends on these dangerous expeditions one of whom died from hyperthermia, and another who fell during a difficult descent.
Leannas father, Mark Shuttleworth added: I am so proud of Leanna, particularly how she has handled the physical and emotional aspects of these incredibly tough climbs. Of course, the freedom and views are breathtaking, but the reality is that conditions can be very tough extremely cold, windy and exposed. On top of that you are carrying heavy loads up to 45kg, breathing through oxygen tanks and going for long stretches without sleep. It is testament to her determination and positivity that she has never once given up or complained.
Leanna is also hoping to fulfil another, more personal goal on this trip. Her ambition to complete the Seven Summits Challenge was born after reading the inspirational book Together on Top of the World, written by husband and wife Phil and Susan Ershler. Leanna is hoping to meet Phil Ershler on her ascent up Mt Everest.
She is currently on a gap year and has a place at Nottingham University to study veterinary science in the UK next year.
For more information visit: www.leannashuttleworth.com