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Sunday, 27 June 2010

Croatian Girls Climb To Top Of Mt. Everest

This is sort of a taking a step back in time post. It's been just over the 1 year anniversary since news of the first Croatian women to have reached the summit of Mount Everest, but for some reason,  I just felt like refreshing peoples memory. This was Croatia's first all-female expedition to the top of Everest, and 4 girls had the privelege of actually going to the very top and making it into the record books. The honours for the first Croatian ever to reach the peak of Mount Everest was Stipe Božić. He accomplished this feat in 1979, and was only the 2nd European to have done so twice, after Messner.

You can read more about Stipe Božić on his website here:

However, this All-Female Croatian team did make a new first, being the first time a sister duo reached the peak together. Sisters Darija and Iris Bostijančić having the honours of completing the arduous journey.  There was some unfortunate news in the process, as a sherpa guide was killed during an avalanche, and the whole expeditions safety was in danger,  But in the end, less that misfortune, it all worked out alright.  Anyway, you can click onto the links if you want to read more.  Also, if you can read Croatian, I would recommend checking out the blog that  the girls made. You really  get a feel for what it was like concerning their thoughts and daily activities. You can read that blog here:


 At around 5.55am Croatian time, Darija and Iris Bostjancic, members of the Croatian women’s expedition, climbed to the top of Mt. Everest.

Darija and Iris Bostijančić celebrating at reaching the top of Everest.

Translation: Lajla Mlinarić Blake
Author: A.Š.
File photo

Published: May 19, 2009 12:30h
Last modified: May 19, 2009 12:51h


Sisters Darija and Iris Bostijančić on Mount Everest.

ZAGREB, CROATIA – Darija and Iris Bostjancic, members of the Croatian women’s expedition, have climbed to the top of Mount Everest at around 5.55am Croatian time.

Eleven girls ventured to the roof of the world this March. On the way towards Mt. Everest they avoided tragedy on several occasions when they were almost caught in avalanches. But their tenaciousness to overcome the unapproachable terrain and climb on top of Mt. Everest was stronger than anything else.

The entire expedition lasts for 72 days, while spending 50 days on the mountain, while the approach to Mount Everest lasts for around seven days. To get to the top the girl had to pass the process of acclimatisation.

The climbing season lasts from the end of March to the end of May and is popular among alpinists due to favourable weather conditions. Sir Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and sherpa Tenzing Norgay from Nepal were the first people who climbed Mount Everest on May 29, 1953. Since then 2,700 climbers made it to the top and 210 people died trying.

First a base camp is set up on the mountain in which conditions for life for 50 days are secured. After that the first camp is set up and the process of acclimatisation is carried out during half-way from the camp to the base camp.

Before the trip, they told us that it takes years to prepare for expeditions like climbing Mt. Everest.

- I have prepared for Mount Everest my whole life, I have always wanted to go there. Intensive trainings last for two years – the young Ana Vrbek told us several days before leaving for Nepal.

Clowning around on Mount Everest. (Cool choice of jerseys btw)


Croatia's climbers Ena Vrbek from Zagreb and Milena Sijan from Split.

Footage of the girls preparing, climbing and returning from the Mount Everest expedition

The youngest and oldest members of the Croatian women’s expedition climbed to the top of Mt. Everest in just 8.5 hours.


Translation:Lajla Mlinarić Blake

Published: May 21, 2009 11:48h

ZAGREB, CROATIA – Ena Vrbek, 23, from Zagreb and Milena Sijan, 40, from Split, members of the Croatian women’s expedition “Mount Everest 2009” on Thursdday made it to the top of Mt. Everest, members of the expedition at the base camp on the Himalayas said.

Four Brave Croatians on Top of World

The youngest and oldest members of the expedition climbed on the highest point of the planet in only 8.5 hours from Camp 3 on the south-eastern slope, only two days after sisters Darija and Iris Bostjancic made it to the top.

Vrbek and Sijan remained at the top for some 15 minutes and they began their descent to Camp 3, members of the expedition said.

Vedrana Simicevic from Rijeka should have climbed along the two, but due to health problems she returned to Camp 2.

The girls were accompanied to the top by Sherpa leader Lakhpa Nuru who also accompanied the sisters Bostjancic two days ago.

 Even Croatian high jumper Blanka Vlasic (Back row) was thrilled
with the great achievment of the expedition.

Girls Arrive Home After Climbing Everest 

 The girls upon their arrival at Zagreb airport.

The Croatian female alpine expedition and four girls that conquered Mt. Everest were awaited by their friends and family.

Translation:Joseph Stedul

Published: June 03, 2009 22:13h

ZAGREB, CROATIA - The second Croatian female alpinist expedition “Everest 2009” achieved a great success with the ascent of four members – Darija and Iris Bostjancic, Milena Sijan and Ena Vrbek – to the 8,848 metre tall peak of Mount Everest. The expedition members were awaited on Wednesday at Zagreb’s airport in the presence of their family members, friends from the Croatian Mountaineering Association, cabinet representatives led by its vice-president Jadranka Kosor, the city of Zagreb and the Croatian Olympic Committee.

“You have done the most in the battle for gender equality. You have shown that it is possible when there is will, when there is knowledge, and when you are together. Only because you were together, you managed in this feat” said Jadranka Kosor. Kosor was the president of the organization committee of the alpinist expedition “Everest 2009”.

“You have told the greatest sporting story up until now. Thank you, thank you, thank you” said Zagreb’s mayor Milan Bandic.

First women on Everest this year

The president of the Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO) Zlatko Matesa, also praised the alpinists by saying that they continued the tradition of women’s sports in Croatia, after medal at the Olympic Games by Janica Kostelic, and last year’s four medals from the Olympic Games in Beijing, and promised that if they decide to go on a new challenge, they will once again have the support of the HOO.

The first Croatian female alpinists to conquer the top of the world, the 8,848 meter tall Mount Everest were the sisters from Rijeka Darija and Iris Bostjancic, and two days later they were joined by Milena Sijan who is from Split and Ena Vrbek who is from Zagreb.

With their ascent, Darija and Iris Bostjancic became the first women to reach the peak this year, and the first sisters in history to reach the peak of Mount Everest at the same time. We need to say that the Bostjancic sisters, upon returning to the base camp, came across a climber that collapsed and offer him first aid.

Milena Sijan, the oldest member of the expedition, said that “during the 72 days of the expedition the alpinists overcame all challenges – mental, physical, financial – and that they were filled with laughter, a few tears, and in the end success”.

Moon and stars under their feet

To conquer the top of the world, the Alpinists prepared for 14 months. They embarked on their journey to conquer Everest on March. In this, one of the most complex missions by the Croatian Mountaineering Association in its 135 year history, other participants apart from those already mentioned were Vedrana Simicevic, Sanja Djurin, Jana Mijailovic, Tea Djurek, Josipa Levar, dr. Lana Djonlagic and Suncica Hrascanec. They were led by Darko Berljak.

Berljak, whilst giving praise for the support and messages from Croatia, said that he is proud that “this expedition, which lasted for 72 days, did not have a single altitude sickness, not one frostbite or even a broken nail”.

Describing how they felt at the peak, Iris Bostjancic joked that she felt “as if she were at the top of the world”, whilst Ena Vrbek added that it seemed like the “moon and stars were under her”.

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