Aretha Duarte, a Brazilian, is the first Black Latin American woman to climb Mount Everest. Duarte completed her journey up the word’s highest Mountain on May 23.

Before embarking on her journey, Duarte expressed her emotions on Instagram: 

“The discomfort is temporary, but the changes this journey represents will be perennial.”

Duarte documented her climb through her Instagram and said the mountain challenged her physically and mentally. In an Instagram post, Duarte said she developed a pulmonary edema, which can be caused by high elevation or exposure to toxins. 

Duarte said she trained for 12½ months before embarking on her trip along with several team members. She praised her team for their support, high performance and guidance on the trip. 

“Our team is made up of human beings who breathe high performance, even when the air is thin. They open our minds to the impossible, even when routes close before our eyes,” Duarte wrote on her Instagram.

As of April 2021, 5,788 people have climbed the mountain. The first was Edmund Percival Hillary in 1953.

Travelers were allowed to return to Nepal’s Himalayan peaks in November 2020 after a shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reopening included restrictions such as permits and health checks. A recent coronavirus outbreak on Everest infected at least 100 people.

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A post shared by Aretha Duarte (@aretha_duarte)

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While making her way up the difficult summit, what was Duarte’s motivation? Remembering her search for a purpose in life. Duarte said that to be successful on the mountain, you need a purpose, 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.

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A post shared by Aretha Duarte (@aretha_duarte)

Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda

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