On May 20, 2016, at 8 a.m. Nepal time, the first Armenian woman – mountaineer Irena Kharazova stood on the top of Everest for the first time. In addition to climbing Everest, she is also the first Armenian woman to complete the “7 Summits” project, reaching the highest peaks of all continents, which are Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Denali, Aconcagua, Everest, Vinson and Mount Kastiuszko.

Kharazova climbed the highest point on Earth as part of the Russian team led by Alexander Abramov, who at that time was climbing Everest for the seventh time.

Throughout history, three Armenians have conquered the top of Everest: Lev Sarkisov, Karo Hovasapyan and Igor Khalatyan.


Irena’s desire to conquer mountains arose in 2011 when she was on vacation in Zanzibar. In one of the interviews, Irena says that on the way back, the pilot pointed to Mount Kilimanjaro during the flight and said that whoever wants to prove something to himself, overcomes it.

Arriving in Moscow, the first thing Irena did was to organize a mountain ascent. Until now, Irena had no interest in mountaineering or extreme sports. Driving Kilimanjaro impressed her so much that she got involved in the “7 Peaks” project.

The goal of the project was to overcome the 7 highest points of 7 continents. Before Everest, Irena managed to climb Elbrus, then Aconcagua in South America, which, according to her, was the most difficult climb and managed to reach the top only after the third attempt, then McKinley, which is located in Alaska, Vinson massif, which is located in Antarctica. Everest was 6th in that series. Irena climbed the highest point on Earth from the North (Tibetan) side along the standard route. Irena climbed Everest, which claimed more than 200 lives, with a group of 27 people. The expedition lasted 42 days. 20 out of 42 days were spent at an altitude of 5000-7000 meters. The brave girl waved the flags of Armenia and Artsakh on top of Everest.


The Russian “7 peaks” club organizes annual ascents to the world’s highest peak, Everest (8848 m). But the 2016 expedition was notable for the number of female participants. Ten of the group members were women. Such a large women’s team was gathered for the first time in the history of all mountain climbs. Five of the ten participating women successfully reached the top of Everest.


One of the girls participating in the expedition says that before the ascent, the participants took pills so that they would not want to go to the toilet at the height. At such a high altitude, climbers wear a lot of clothes and are attached to each other with ropes, and must somehow get rid of them and find a safe place if the urge to go to the toilet arises at an altitude of 8900 m. It seems like an everyday story, but it can cause you to lose your balance. Climbers try to drink less water at altitude. Usually no one takes more than one liter of water with them, first it is difficult to carry, and then only one oxygen cylinder already weighs 4 kg. At an altitude of 8300 m, there are tents where participants can melt the snow if the water runs out, but climbers prefer not to do this. after all, to get into the tent you have to remove the crampons (a device with metal teeth for moving on the ice that are attached to the boots of climbers), but no one wants to spend too much energy on that.


According to statistics, one out of 13 people who climb Everest dies on the way. Many of them never get a chance to return home and remain on the mountain forever, reminding climbers who pass by their frozen bodies who is the boss here. Constant threat of death, fear of falling into the abyss at every moment, of suffocation. In this case, what makes hundreds of people risk their lives and health every year to reach the top of Everest? In response to this question, Irena states that the decision to climb Everest comes only when you really start to live on that mountain, when life without it does not seem interesting, when Everest becomes more precious to you than life itself.

Irena mentions in her interviews that the most terrifying is the state of waiting, because there are many conversations about death around you, and you are constantly scared with stories about who and how died on Everest.

During the ascent, Irena sees the frozen body of a participant from one of the previous expeditions. It was rescuer Marko from Slovenia, whose body has been there since 2005. Irena made notes about it in her diary, telling about her feelings. The most terrifying thought for her was that she might end up in Marco’s position as well. Before the ascent, Irena even talked to one of the sherpas, saying that if something happens to her, they will take her down at any cost, her relatives will pay the price for it, and if suddenly there is no possibility to take her down, at least they will put her in a suitable position and let her hair down to look beautiful.

Fortunately, everything turned out well.


Irena says that she is often asked how she felt at the top.

— I probably didn’t feel anything because the top is only 30% success and there is still a descent to go. We stayed at the top for about 20 minutes, identified the flags, took photos and started to descend. They told us that we just have to crawl down to the camp at an altitude of 6400 meters.

The brave woman tells in her interviews that the euphoria comes later, when you reach 6400 meters. You understand that you have climbed Everest, you have been on top of the world, and now nothing is impossible for you. This euphoria is like a drug.


Kharazova was born and lives in Moscow. She is an oilman by profession. Irena’s great-grandfather was saved during the Armenian Genocide in 1915, thanks to the fact that his mother was able to take the boy out wrapped in a carpet. Irena’s parents are Tbilisi Armenians, that’s why there were many occasions to visit Tbilisi, but she had never been to Armenia. Irena came to Armenia for the first time on August 16, 2016. During her visit, Irena got acquainted with the sights of Armenia, held meetings with Armenian climbers and shared her unforgettable experience with great pleasure.


During the days of climbing Everest, Irena Kharazova kept a diary, where she told in detail what difficulties she had to overcome. In her diary she wrote that for her Everest will forever remain on the pedestal of his physical achievements and will be proof that any madness can be accomplished if you believe in your own power.

Irena’s example is the best proof that if you really want something and put enough effort into it, you can do what many people think is impossible.

The article was compiled based on observations and materials collected by the ArmLand club.