Women of Everest
Preparing for Climb to the ‘Roof of the World'
Alison Levine has had two surgeries to repair a damaged heart. Midge Cross is diabetic and has survived breast cancer.
Alison Levine经历过两次心脏手术。Midge Cross患有糖尿病，还是乳腺癌的幸存者。
Neither woman is the type to let those obstacles stand in the way of their adventuresome spirit， so they headed for the “roof of the world.”
They are part of a team that set out this week to become the first group of American women to reach the summit of Mount Everest. The other three are Coloradans Lynn Prebble， Jody Thompson and Kimberly Clark.Cross had to turn back at 24，000 feet because of altitude sickness. Had she reached the summit， the 58-year-old grandmother would have been the oldest woman to do so.
作为本周启程的一支登山 队 队员，她们将成为登上珠穆朗玛峰顶的第一批美国女性。该队的另外三名队员是Cdoradans lynn Prennle， Jody Thompson和Kimverly Cark.在到达24000英尺高度时，Cross因发生高空病而不得不返回。如果她攀上了顶峰，这位58岁的奶奶将是到达此高度的最老女性。
But she was never hell-bent on that goal. More important， she says， is the commitment to stepping outside her old comfort zone.
“So I become a bigger person，” says Cross， “a more knowledgeable person and， I think， a better person for having taken the risk.” The other four women are pushing on， hoping to reach the summit within the next couple of days.
All are experienced climbers， including Levine， a 36-year-old business executive from San Francisco who organized the team.
She says she was looking for skilled climbers， women who could take two months off from their jobs， women who could leave their families behind for an extended period. And women who had a certain attitude.
“Everybody's got a lot of energy， a lot of spirit， a lot of heart and some mental toughness，” Levine says.
Cross agrees， pointing out that these women weren't interested in leading safe， predictable lives： “I remember when I was a kid， my mom would buy American cheese， with every slice wrapped. And I thought， 'Whoa， this is not the kind of life I want to live， with every slice wrapped.' ”
And so they trained， for months， fully aware that 180 people have died trying to scale the world's highest mountain， which comes in at 29，035 feet.They may not have testosterone， but they do have teamwork that is uniquely female.
“It takes us longer when we have to go to the bathroom，” says Levine with a chuckle， “because， you know， it's just more complicated for us. So we're patient with each other through those times， too， where a group of men might not understand.”
Levine has already reached the highest point on six continents： North and South America， Europe， Africa， Oceania and Antarctica. Everest - in Nepal on the Asian continent - would make her seventh.
She is careful not to raise expectations， but says “tenacity， persistence and a strong spirit can carry you further than just muscle alone.”
When they last spoke to ABCNEWS from base camp， the women had already had a very humbling practice climb up to 24，000.
“At camp three， it was very difficult. We were very uncomfortable，” said Cross. “I've never had such a bad headache in my whole life.” Clearly， she was not able to overcome that physical limitation； Cross did not make it past the 24，000-foot mark on the final push to the summit. But she will be there in spirit with the others if they make it to the top.
“Everybody's really excited to go up and do it，” says Levine. “Because this is it.”