Alyssa Azar, the youngest Australian to reach the top of the world’s tallest mountain, took three goes to tell her father the news
By Australian Associated Press
It took three attempts before Alyssa Azar was able to tell her father that she had reached the top of Mount Everest on Saturday.
Photograph: Hans Edinger/AP Australian Associated Press
If there’s one phone call you don’t want to miss, it’s the one your daughter makes when she’s standing on top of the tallest mountain in the world.
But that’s what happened to Glenn Azar when his “baby”, Alyssa, made it to the summit of Mount Everest on Saturday.
Speaking from Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea on Thursday, Mr Azar said he didn’t get the initial call because he was leading a trek along the Kokoda Track.
“My belief was she must have summited,” he said.
But it took another few hours for his 19-year-old daughter to confirm the news.
The satellite phone had already cut out twice, but Ms Azar managed to utter the words “Yes I summited” before the line disconnected a third time.
The Queensland woman’s successful climb made her the youngest Australian to reach the top of the world’s tallest mountain, eclipsing the record set by Rex Pemberton in 2005.
Mr Azar said he was incredibly proud of his daughter’s achievement after two previous attempts.
“It’s been something she’s focused on, dreamed about and worked towards for years,” he said. “It could’ve been her one shot at it and she nailed it.”
Alyssa left a photo of her 12-year-old brother Christian – who has autism and an intellectual disability – at the summit.
Mr Azar said it was a gesture that meant an incredible amount to the rest of the family.
“Alyssa is very close to Christian and always used him as inspiration to live a full life,” he said.
“She knows she has the opportunity in life to do things he won’t necessarily be able to do.”
He had not yet had a chance to speak to his daughter about the death of Victorian woman Maria Strydom, who died during her descent of the mountain on Saturday.
“I’m sure she’s aware,” he said. “Alyssa’s seen a lot of tragedies on the mountains that she’s climbed.”
Mr Azar said his daughter texted him in the lead-up to the hardest part of the climb, warning him it would be the toughest five days of her life.
“She said: ‘If anything happens I want you to know this is what I wanted to be doing,’ ” he said.
Her family had spent the past few years coming to terms with the fact Alyssa was determined to climb Mount Everest.
“If anything happened to her the truth is I’d be sad for myself and our family but I would never be sad for her because I knew 100% she was out doing what she wanted to be doing,” he said.
He planned to see his daughter for the first time since the climb in early June, when she is expected to arrive back in Australia.