'I should be learning to knit, not risking my life!' Pensioner, 65, becomes oldest person to climb world's highest peaks on all seven continentsCarol Masheter reached the summit of Australia's Mount Kosciuszko on 17 March to complete challenge'I should be learning how to knit and
play bridge, but that’s just not me,' she said
14:51 GMT, 29 March 2012
A pensioner has become the oldest woman in the world to climb the highest mountains on every continent.
Carol Masheter, 65, reached the summit of Australia’s Mount Kosciuszko on March 17, to complete a mammoth undertaking lasting over five years.
Against her family’s wishes, she braved soaring heights, plunging temperatures and even went blind for 10 hours descending Mount Everest.
Determined: Carol poses at the 7,310 feet Kosciuszko summit in Australia, the final part of her goal to climb the world's highest mountains
'I should be learning how to knit and play bridge and doing things that are more age appropriate to people my age, but that’s just not me,' she said.
At age 60, Carol first conquered the 22,841 feet Aconcagua, South America’s highest peak in Argentina, before topping the 19,340 feet peak of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, the highest peak in Africa, at age 61.
Next she would take on Asia’s and the world’s highest mountain, reaching the summit of the mighty 29,035 feet Mount Everest in Nepal, age 61, on May 24, 2008.
Unswerving Carol then mastered the highest peak in North America at age 63 by topping the 20,360 feet Denali in Alaska, USA., also known as Mount McKinley.
She next scaled Europe’s 18,510 feet Elbrus in Russia, age 64, before this year moving on to Antarctica’s 16,077 feet Vinson Massif in January following her 65th birthday.
Her final climb was the smallest at 7,310 feet Kosciuszko in Australia’s Snowy Mountains, New South Wales.
Carol started high-altitude mountaineering at age 50 to cope with grief and anger
Victory: At the 29,035 feet summit of Mount Everest in Nepal, the world's highest mountain
Atop the 19,340 feet Kilimanjaro summit in Africa. Carol tackled Kilimanjaro in preparation for Everest
Amazingly, a series of harsh personal events prompted her to make her world record bid. Carol said: 'When I turned 50, my life fell apart. Within 18 months, I lost a job I loved, I learned the man I loved was involved with someone else, my mother died, and my own health deteriorated.
'To cope with grief, anger, and stress, I went to the Bolivian Andes for high-altitude mountaineering training, summitting seven peaks over 17,000 feet. I found I was a pretty good at it, and felt my best in the mountains.
'It led me to later climb Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world in China in 2005. I could see the summit of Everest from the summit and thought: “I don’t want to die without knowing whether I could climb Everest because I didn’t try.”'
In preparation for Everest, she tackled Kilimanjaro, and after reaching the top of Everest set her sights on the 'Seven Summits' – the highest peak on each continent.
Carol is in the process of having her record validated and will take the record currently held by Kay LeClaire who completed the feat aged 60.
At the 20,360 feet Denali ridge in Alaska. Carol was 63
Aged 64, Carol climbed the Elbrus summit, the highest peak in Europe at 18,510 feet
Climbing a glacier towards the Kilimanjaro summit