Post-Summit Q&A with FDW and Mountain Climber Liza Avelino

A special message from Liza…..

PATHFINDERS: Congratulations Liza on your recent summit of Mt. Damavand! How was the climb?

LIZA: My climb was a success. I made to the summit of Mt Damavand!

PATHFINDERS: Were there any moments when you struggled and how did you get through them?

LIZA: Yes, there were moments where I struggled. It was after reaching 5,000m. I felt the effect of altitude sickness – feeling weak, having a queasy stomach and I felt like every breath and every step I wanted to throw up especially when I sipped water, the taste was bland but I had to force myself to swallow because it is very important for hydration.

The terrain became steeper and there was one hour of rock scrambling where it was really hard to heave my body up on the rocks and it made me use my remaining strength. After the rock scrambling part, there was a steep uphill march to the Pyramid, a mound of rocks in the shape of a pyramid.

After that I saw the summit but there was one last obstacle I had to go through….. the sulphur hill. A mixture of loose rocks and volcanic sand, the high winds hit you right left back and centre and it stirs dust everywhere. I also had to endure the stench of sulphur from fumarole vents near the summit crater. 

I had to push myself and focus on my steps one foot after the other, and after 45 minutes of walking very slowly on the sulphur hill I finally made it to the summit. I felt so HAPPY!

PATHFINDERS: What next?! Are you planning any more climbs?

LIZA: I am already working on a plan for my next trip to the mountains next year. There’s no summit on this one but I will go up and down mountain passes as high as 4525m. It’s a 14 day Pamir Trekking Expedition in Kyrgyzstan which is known as the Patagonia of Central Asia. 

I’m not giving up on climbing another summit, infact i’m planning to do Mt Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe in 2021 or 2022.

PATHFINDERS: Do you have a message for PathFinders’ beneficiaries who you helped raise funds for?

LIZA: Stay strong, take the opportunity to learn more skills while you’re under the guidance of PathFinders, empower yourself and plan for a better future for you and your child.

Thank you PathFinders and to donors for for all the amazing things that you do to help the vulnerable women and children in our society. More blessings and more power to your advocacy.