Paramedic Reaches Astounding New Heights

Reaching the summit of Mount Everest is a feat few can say they have achieved, but as of last month Healesville Paramedic Alison Bowen stood on top of the world and claimed that title.

A woman wearing an orange jacket and black pants poses on a mountain top.

On 21 May, Healesville Paramedic Alison Bowen reached the summit of Mount Everest.

Braving the extreme altitude, unpredictable weather and treacherous terrain, Alison reached the top of Everest on 21 May, an experience she said was “breathtaking”.

“Reaching the summit was absolutely surreal,” she said.

“You see so many documentaries and photos online but once you’re there it’s amazing to see it all with your own eyes and know you’re standing above the 8,000-metre-tall mountains around you.”

In the lead up to tackling Mount Everest, Alison completed around six months of intense training.

“I did an online coaching program that started off with around 10-12 hours of training a week, but at the end it had increased to 30 hours a week,” she said.

“You kind of get used to knowing that every day off will be long training sessions.”

Two mountain climbers in winter gear smiling for the camera on a snowy mountain.

Alison Bowen and James Mansell (a climber from U.K who was on her team).

While her training helped physically prepare her, Alison said she hadn’t really considered the mental impact of the trip.

“Everyone expects it to be really hard physically and the summit push were the hardest days of my life, but what was harder for me was the emotional and mental toll,” she said.

“There were many real risks including frostbite, altitude sickness, slipping and falling and not making it home to family. It was quite frightening.”

“There were also a lot of tears throughout the trip because it’s really hard being at such a high altitude for so long. It’s an inhospitable environment and not a nice place to be for an extended period of time.”

A female paramedic standing next to ambulance.

Paramedic of 10 years, Alison Bowen is currently completing The Seven Summit Challenge and has two mountains left to climb.

But with the support of her friends and some strangers she met along the way, Alison was able to put one foot in front of the other.

“You have to be confident, but it doesn’t mean there’s no fear there,” she said.

“Hearing other people’s stories about seeing the summit was the encouragement I needed to keep going.

“Everest is definitely the hardest peak I’ve climbed but I’ve come out of it still having my fingers, toes and nose, and am now one step closer to achieving my goal.”

Alison is working her way through The Seven Summits Challenge – a coveted mountaineering achievement involving climbing the highest peak on each of the seven continents.

With Everest now under her belt, Alison has completed five of the seven summits and has her sights set on conquering Denali in Alaska and Vinson Massif in Antarctica after a well-deserved rest.

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