Alison Jane Hargreaves (17 February 1962 – 13 August 1995) was a British mountain climber. Her accomplishments included scaling Mount Everest alone, without supplementary oxygen or support from a Sherpa team, in 1995. She soloed all the great north faces of the Alps in a single season—a first for any climber. This feat included climbing the difficult north face of the Eiger in the Alps. Hargreaves also climbed 6,812-metre (22,349 ft) Ama Dablam in Nepal.
As a young girl, Alison Hargreaves would sit at her school desk in the village of Belper in the English Peak District and gaze longingly at the beautiful mountain peaks that seemed to beckon her. She was fascinated by mountains, and furthermore, the Derbyshire school encouraged its students to enjoy outdoor activities, and she began rock climbing when she was just 13.
Alison left school. Shortly afterwards, she met Jim Ballard, who was also an enthusiastic climber and skier. They opened a climbing equipment shop together and would later marry and have a son and a daughter – Tom and Kate.
In the years that followed, Alison began climbing mountains in the UK, the Alps and Nepal. By the mid-1980s, she was already recognised as one of Britain’s top female climbers with an undeniable skill and confidence in the mountains.
In October 1994, Alison Hargreaves made her first attempt to climb Mt Everest in the Himalayas. At 8,849 metres, Everest is the world’s tallest mountain on the planet. Hargreaves was tackling the mountain totally on her own. She had no support. Unfortunately, she was forced to turn back – as there was a significant risk of frostbite.
In 1995, Hargreaves began her quest to climb the three most prominent mountains in the world – Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga – within a single year, unaided.
This would be a fantastic achievement- never done before. Her first challenge was to climb Everest solo, which she did in May 1995. She climbed the north side up to the North Ridge and had Sherpa’s support until she reached Advanced Base Camp (ABC).
From there on, she carried all her equipment, pitched her camps and used no supplementary oxygen supplies. Hargreaves wanted to climb ‘solo’. She even refused the offer of cups of tea from other climbers! On 13 May 1995, she made it to the summit of Everest – the first woman ever to do so
She was the first woman and only the second mountain climber to achieve this. However, she unfortunately lost her life on Mount K2. Even so, the legacy that Alison Hargreaves has left to the climbing community is her inspiration and incredible love for the mountains…
According to endorfeen.com & Wikipedia