Aretha Duarte is the first Black Latin American woman to climb Mount Everest. Duarte, a Brazilian, completed her journey up the world’s highest mountain on May 23. Duarte documented her climb through her Instagram and said the mountain challenged her physically and mentally. In an Instagram post, Duarte said she developed pulmonary edema, which can be caused by high elevation or exposure to toxins.
As of April 2021, 5,788 people have climbed the mountain. Travelers were allowed to return to Nepal’s Himalayan peaks in November 2020 after a shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While making her way up the difficult summit, what was her motivation? Duarte said that you need a purpose to be successful on the mountain, not just a reason. “Since, from the beginning, my “summit” was my home, my mother, and my brothers. At the end of the day, it’s about that: surpassing expected results in harmony with the environment in which we find ourselves,” Duarte said in Portuguese on her Instagram. Duarte told her followers she’d return to Brazil to celebrate her feat. Duarte said she trained for 12½ months before embarking on her trip along with several team members. She praised her team for their support, guidance on the trip. “Our team is made up of human beings who breathe high performance, even when the air is thin,” Duarte wrote on her Instagram.