First Greek Woman Climbs Himalayas

Tassia Iliopoulou is the first Greek woman to scale the summit of Cho Oyu on the Himalayas, the world’s sixth highest peak with an altitude of 8,201 metres.

Iliopoulou is regarded as a pioneer in the women’s mountain climbing movement, being one of few women in the world to have completed a similar attempt. A veteran mountain-climber, she has reached the summits of a number of peaks worldwide: (Mont Blanc), Africa (Kilimanjaro), the Caucasus (Elbrus), South America (Aconcagua) and the contiguous United States (Mt Whitney). Iliopoulou had attempted to ascend the Turquoise Goddess peak in Tibet with an all-Greek team three years ago, but she was prevented by bad weather.

According to the New Athens News, even the preparation for the climb is grueling: 25 days of acclimatization at temperatures well below zero Centigrade. The ascent takes four days; two additional days are needed to descend. Climbers carry 10 kg of equipment with them, including an 8-kilogram oxygen tank for use at the final portion of the ascent.

But she still hold a special place in her heart for climbing in Greece, after 25 years of experience including regular trips within Greece with friends from the Athens Mountaineering Society. Among her favorite places are Mounts Olympus, Parnassos, and Parnitha near Athens. For her, these spots are still "so magical."

President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias welcomed her at the Presidential Mansion yesterday.

(Posting date 16 December 2009)

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