Schoolgirl who is scared of heights is youngest Brit to climb one of world’s toughest and most deadliest mountains
A schoolgirl showed she’s ‘summit special’ by becoming the youngest Brit to climb one of the world’s most notorious mountains – despite being scared of heights.
Anastasia Brajovic, 13, scaled the perilous Matterhorn – which claimed the lives of six climbers LAST MONTH ALONE – in just three hours and 20 minutes.
She is the youngest Brit to climb the 4,500-metre peak and the youngest female to scale it from the Swiss side.
Schoolgirl Anastasia, from London, said: “I really enjoyed it. It was a bit terrifying as I am scared of heights but the climb was spectacular.
“It was the most difficult climb that I have done, but I managed to get up there in three hours and 20 minutes.
“It is dark and you are pulling yourself up but when I got to the top the view was so beautiful – I could see all of the other mountains.
“I waited at the top of the mountain for around an hour. We then climbed back down.
“It was easier getting down. I can’t believe I did it. The Matterhorn is a really big mountain and I did it in quite a fast time apparently.”
Anastasia set off at 4.20am from the Hornli Hut, which is the base camp for the ascent of the Matterhorn. This is around 3,200 metres above sea level.
She climbed up steep rock slabs, going over ‘the shoulder’ and up a section of fixed ropes before climbing the last few hundred vertical metres which were covered in snow at a very steep incline.
Just three hours and 20 minutes after setting off she reached the 4,478 metre summit.
She reached the summit on August 31 – shortly after the 150th anniversary of Sir Edward Whymper becoming the first person to successfully climb it.
During Sir Edward’s adventure, in July 1865, four of the seven climbers died on their way down.
Hundreds of other climbers have lost their lives over the years. Last month, the remains of two Japanese nationals who disappeared 45 years ago were found on the mountain.
It is regularly ranked among the world’s most difficult mountains to climb.
Anastasia’s mum, Kathryn Brajovic, was worried throughout the climb but she knew her daughter would be reach the peak without a problem.
She said: “We are so proud of Anastasia. She is so kind and generous but also has the most amazing ‘can do’ approach.
“She is scared of heights but she got over it. She had the dream of climbing the Matterhorn and it is amazing to see your 13-year-old conquer her fears and achieve her dream.
“It is a grown-up mountain and sadly some people have perished on it so I did have my concerns.
“There are dangers, but she spent a week beforehand training and I knew she had the technical ability and also the head to do it.”
Her mountain guide for the adventure was Michael Lerjen-Demjen, a veteran of the Matterhorn having first climbed it as a ten-year-old.
He is now the sixth-generation from his family to be a guide on the mountain, with his first relative scaling it back in 1869.
Michael, who has climbed it 106 times, said: “Anastasia is very good – she did better than many adults.
“I have known her for a few years and first spoke to her about the Matterhorn when she was ten.
“She wasn’t big enough then, but she has grown now, her coordination is good and she is mentally very strong.
“You really need to know how to climb the Matterhorn. You need to do it around 20 times before you really know how it works.
“The conditions on the day were okay but it is the people that can make it dangerous.
“I was very impressed because she kept smiling the whole time. You shouldn’t climb mountains to be the quickest or the youngest – you should do it because you enjoy it.”
Anastasia, who has been climbing for four years, has already set her sights on another major mountain.
She said: “My next challenge is going to be the Aconcagua, which is the highest peak in South America. It is around 7,000-metres.
“The Matterhorn is more technical, but this climb takes longer and I am hoping to get up and down in 10-12 hours.”