In 2017, Merethe Falkum Lien reached the southern tip of Mount Everest after intense training on the slopes of Gaustatoppen and Rjukan’s frozen waterfalls. Today she leads the Rjukan Klatrepark. And who knows, maybe new mountain adventures await?
Merethe Falkum Lien has always been an adventurer. It was during one of her trips as an aid worker in Africa that she suddenly found herself at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.
– I decided there and then that next time I would put aside some time to climb it.
The year was 2007. Having made it to the top of Kilimanjaro and then back down, it was clear – Merethe wanted to climb some more peaks. It didn’t take long before she set herself the ultimate goal. To climb and defeat Mount Everest.
– Gaustatoppen is my practice ground. You just open the door to world-class ice climbing, freezing temperatures, challenging weather conditions and long walks in the terrain, says Merethe.
In addition to balancing three jobs to earn the money to finance the expedition, Merethe has walked up and down the north face of Gaustatoppen with a twenty-two-kilo bag, crampons and full equipment. In the winter she has done balance training along the glacier with a full survival pack.
– Mount Everest is not the most technical climb, but it requires extreme endurance. It takes a long time and there are many physical changes that occur in your body during the journey. You also wait for good weather. During my stay on Everest, 12–14 climbers died.
But Merethe managed to make it to the top. In May 2017, she reached Mount Everest’s south peak, but had turn around with just 148 meters left to the North Summit.
– We had a Sherpa that became ill. The margins are small and there’s a lot that needs to work perfectly if you’re going to reach the top.
Today, Merethe runs the operations at the newly established Rjukan Klatrepark. It’s a climbing centre for the whole family situated in the tree crowns at the top of the Krossobanen, north of Gaustatoppen.
– The great thing about Rjukan and Gausta is that we can offer so many experiences. Here the nature and the peak are accessible to all, while it can also offer really tough challenges for more experienced climbers. In addition, we have a unique history and Rjukan being a world heritage site. No other place can offer this, says Merethe Falkum Lien.
Profession: Adventurer and CEO Rjukan Klatrpark.
Family: Husband, daughter and grand children
Lives: Gausta and Skien (Pendlar)
Leisure: Exercise, exercise, exercise