A final year medical student from The University of Western Australia is setting out to break multiple mountaineering records when she climbs Mount Everest next month.
Gaby Nel will be the youngest woman to climb the world’s highest peak in autumn if she reaches the summit in October and the youngest South African to do so.
The 24-year-old, who came to Perth six years ago to study medicine, said she combined a gruelling study schedule with elite fitness training by taking her computer to the gym.
“I’m known at the gym as the girl who sits on the stair machine with her laptop open watching medical lectures and reading notes,”Gaby said.
“I usually train three to four hours a day and that involves some strength and endurance training and cardio as well.”
She will climb Mount Everest with a Nepalese team including two guides and a Sherpa with the aim of breaking records but also getting back safely.
“You just hope your preparation and teamwork all comes into play because nothing is set in stone on Everest,” she said.
“It’s as quick as a change in weather or an avalanche – which I have witnessed firsthand in Nepal – and that changes the game.”
Gaby said as well as a personal goal, the Everest expedition was a fundraiser for Dlala Nje, a foundation in Johannesburg helping to create a safe learning environment for underprivileged children.
Accompanying her on the climb will be an elephant keychain given to her by her mother, which she has taken on other expeditions including to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“Mr Ellie has been frozen, dropped in mud, torn up and put back together and yeah, he’ll come up with me to the top,” she said.