26 July 2010, 04:40

A Highland mountaineering instructor returned to Scotland last night after successfully climbing the last of the world’s Seven Summits.

Di Gilbert is now one of just 276 people to have reached the highest point on each of the seven continents, after successfully climbing Mount Elbrus in Russia.

Last night, the 36-year-old climber said she was delighted with her accomplishment, which she described as a “bit of an ambition” among fellow mountaineers.

She said: “It’s been my unintentional aim to do this. There is no way I would have been able to do the summits if I had to pay for them, so I worked my way up them.

“I was an exhibition leader or guide during the Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Vinson, Mount Everest, Carstensz Pyramid and Aconcagua climbs, helping others achieve their dream.”

Miss Gilbert added: “I completed the Denali climb in North America in a group of personal friends, and this last one with just my partner, Derek. As it was my seventh summit I didn’t want to work on it, I wanted a break with someone that was special to me.”

Miss Gilbert, of High Street, Grantown, who grew up at Alford in Aberdeenshire, admitted climbing the summits had been both physically and mentally challenging, but said it became a “little bit easier” to complete Elbrus knowing it was the last one.

She added: “All of the climbs were unique, and challenging in different ways – whether it be physically or logistically. Everest was perhaps the toughest as it is the largest, but they all had their own quirks.”

Miss Gilbert, who is a full-time mountaineering instructor, plans to spend time climbing in Scotland before deciding on her next far-off adventure.

By Shona Gossip

 

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Seven summits. From http://www.digilbert.co.uk

"Mountaineers thrive on challenge: the desire to stand on top of the highest point on each of the seven continents has fired the imagination of climbing enthusiasts of all levels from around the globe.

Everest, Asia (8848m)

Aconcagua, South America (6960m)

McKinley, North America (6194m)

Kilimanjaro, Africa (5895m)

Elburs, Europe (5642m)

Vinson, Antarctica (4897m)

Carstensz Pyramid, Oceania (4884m)

Completion of this amazing feat, known as the Seven Summits, demands much of the climber - to travel to the remote and exotic corners of the world, scale the heights of mountain giants such as Everest and McKinley, and face extreme weather conditions and hostile environments for long periods over many years." Seven Summits, Steve Bell

On the 20th July 2010, Di Gilbert finally finished her unintential aim to climb all Seven Summits by standing on the top of Mount Elbrus.

It has never been on Di's agenda to climb the Seven Summits, purely due to the financial implications involved with such a large undertaking. However, she was aware that the only way she would be able to climb them, would be to work on them. And work on them, she did...

In 1999, she was Expedition Leader for World Challenge Expedition's Kilimanjaro Expedition, climbing the mountain via the Marangu route. She enjoyed it so much, she returned in 2001 as Expedtion Leader for Jagged Globe's Expedition via the Umbwe route.

In 2003, whilst working as a Guide for Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions, Nick Lewis and Di climbed Vinson via the normal route as every day work.

In 2004, she started working for Adventure Peaks as an Expedition Leader and successfully led their Cho Oyo (8002m) Expedition in Tibet. This provided the launch pad for Di to then lead their 2005 North Ridge Everest Expedition, where she was responsible for putting celebrity Jake Meyer on the summit on the 4th June.

In 2009, Di was joined by Derek Boggan and Catrin Thomas, where they flew into Denali National Park for an attempt on the Cassin Route. They had to settle for the West Buttress due to conditions on the mountain at the time.

Di was always realistic about the opportunity of leading an expedition to Carstenz Pyramid, but Adventure Peaks once again provided the opportunity and in 2009, Di and her 4 clients, successfully summited this elusive mountain.

Having now stood on 5 out of 7, Di made the conscious decision to try and finish the remaining peaks. She was Expedition for the Adventure Peak's Aconcagua Expedition in 2010, which left just one...

On 20th July 2010 at approx 1300, Di wept her way up the final slopes of Mount Elbrus after an 11 hour trail breaking ascent from Uncle Nick's Hut on the North Side of the Mountain.

Di climbed her 7th summit with her partner Derek and their Russian Guide Kirill Ivanov.

Photo's of the Expedition can be found here

http://www.digilbert.co.uk/gallery.asp?gallery_id=30#

and the report can be found here (I'm working on it now:))