The women, who are all both leaders and mountaineers, are Lisa Gering, Alda Waddell, Deshun Deysel, and Tumi Mphahlele, all from Johannesburg, with Ronnie Muhl, avid mountaineer and founder of Cape Town-based Adventures Global, managing the full logistics of the climb.
From the outset, the idea was always to be an all-women team, and the first from Africa to summit the world’s highest mountain – of which only a few South African women have ever achieved that. challenge. All the women have extensive mountaineering experience, trekking, hiking, climbing, and summiting the highest mountains in several continents, while Deshun and Tumi are also accomplished athletes in other sports.
The team is also fully committed to the cause behind the climb – inspiring, empowering and supporting women entrepreneurs.
As part of their preparation for the expedition, the all-women team will climb Mont Blanc (4,810 metres) in the Alps in Europe in September and Mount Aconcagua (6,959 metres) in the Argentinian Andes in December, as well as intensive individual training by each of the team members, and two-weekly meetings to ensure everything is on track.
Lisa has a personal company called LRM Diamonds but is full time as a shareholder and partner with REAL Entrepreneur.
She holds the position of COO across two of the companies in the REAL Network group, she is the Culture Champion, and also heads up the Coaching Division and helps to run events.
Lisa has trekked or climbed every year, sometimes twice, since 2010 and has stayed fit and strong for the trips. She started mountaineering when she was brought into the Mt. Kilimanjaro expedition in 2010 as a ‘team and client’ trip.
Deshun is MD of Deshun Deysel & Associates, which equips clients to transition from Performance Management to Performance Development by using an Agile, Light and Continuous Digital Platform.
Deshun lives in Johannesburg with her husband Charles and their two children, Edward and Judith.
Mountaineering was “a childhood dream”, which was realised in 1995. Deshun was a member of the first team of South Africans who placed the new SA democratic flag at the top of Mt. Everest. She was the first Black woman in the world and the youngest South African to set foot on the slopes of Mt. Everest.
Deshun has participated in climbing expeditions to five of the seven summits on five continents: Mt. Mckinley, North America; Mt. Elbrus, Europe; Aconcagua, South America; Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa; Everest, Asia. She has successfully guided teams up Mt. Kenya, Mt. Kilimanjaro and smaller South African peaks, and summited Mt. Meru (Tanzania), Mt. Kenya (Kenya), Mt. Blanc (France), Mt. Kalapathar (Nepal).
Alda works for BMW South Africa as a Specialist: Sub Sahara Africa Operations and Special Projects. She has 23 years’ experience in the motor industry and holds an MBA Degree from Rhodes University, BTech Degree in Management, National Dip in Management.
She is mother of 17-year-old twins, Clair and Craig.
Alda has battled personal injuries and embarked on a journey to test her own physical and mental strength by setting goals to climb the highest mountain on each continent.
Tumi is director and shareholder at IG3N and Amperion Energy – two companies in the renewable energy sector that she co-founded and is leading. Tumi is also experienced in the execution of complex projects and programmes and has served as GM for Corporate Strategy at the SABS and the Development Bank of SA.
Tumi is a recreational endurance athlete with a keen interest in mountain sports. She has successfully climbed three of the seven summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Elbrus and Mt. Aconcagua – and has ambitions to complete the rest of the seven summits over the next few years. She has also summited other mountain peaks of varying altitudes in Africa and South America.
Tumi is also a hiker, a mountain biker, an ultradistance road and trail runner, and has completed seven Comrades Marathons and six Two Oceans Marathons.
She battled ill health with External Iliac Artery Endofibrosis from 2016 to 2018, and after two operations late last year, she summited Aconcagua in December 2018.