If only the Barts had scaled Mount Everest on the High Holy Days.
Instead, the mother (Cheryl) and daughter (Nikki) from Sydney, Australia, were on the world’s highest mountain during Passover, part of a two-month expedition on which they reached the summit last week and made history. They became the first mother-daughter team to scale 29,035-foot-high Mount Everest, as well as the tallest peak on all seven continents.
“When we got to the top” of Everest, guided only by the light of the full moon, “the sun was just rising, coming up from Tibet, and there was just clouds and the mighty mountain tops underneath us that was just amazing,” Cheryl Bart, a businesswoman and an ambassador of the Australian chapter of the Peres Center for Peace, told reporters. “It’s the most glorious and magnificent place on earth, as well as being quite harsh, and it’s quite a privilege to look at it.”
The Barts, graduates of Sydney’s Moriah College day school, said a visit to Israel two decades ago sparked their climbing enthusiasm. Cheryl and Nikki climbed Masada. “That was probably my first greatest adventure,” said Nikki, a medical student. “That’s probably when my travel bug began,” Nikki said, according to the Israeli press.
They waved a small Israeli flag near the summit of Everest.
Mother and daughter decided to climb the Nepal peak after conquering nearby Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth-highest mountain. “We wanted the challenge,” Cheryl said.
On the way up Everest, they battled bitter cold, avalanches, nosebleeds, dysentery and 16 other teams on their way to the summit. “We pushed ourselves, our relationships, our minds beyond what we thought we were capable of,” they wrote on their “Oz Chicks With Altitude” online blog. “We shot for the stars, and we reached the tallest point on earth.
“Chag Sameach [Happy Holiday],” they wrote on the eve of Passover, while they were on their way up. The Barts brought some matzah for the occasion. “We are feeling very homesick being away from home on Passover,” they wrote, “but our fantastic cook Chomba is preparing an Everest Base Camp version of seder including hard boiled eggs, salt water, grated apple and walnut.”