Mountaineer at pinnacle of success

Cheryl Bart is, by her own admission, not the most likely adventurer.

"Look at me," she said. "I am not a hairy climbing guy. I watch Q&A."

Nevertheless, the lawyer, board director, and 50-something mother of two will attempt to ski to the North Pole next month.

If she makes it, she will become the 31st person in the world and the first Australian woman to have achieved the Explorers' Grand Slam, climbing all seven of the major mountain summits and travelling to both Poles.

"My daughter and I were like the Forrest Gumps of mountaineers," she said describing how she and her daughter Nikki started exploring the world more than 10 years ago.

"Remember how he ran, and he said he might as well keep going? Well, that's how it began.

"We did Kilimanjaro together, and then we did another mountain, and thought that was fantastic, and we thought we may as well do another one, and then, suddenly there we were doing Everest."

The mother-daughter team saw themselves as such unlikely explorers they didn't even mention the word Everest for fear someone would hear them. "I am a lawyer, she is a doctor. We're not Reinhold Messner," she said, referring to the Italian mountaineer.

Ms Bart and her daughter were the first mother-daughter team to reach the 8850-metre summit of Mount Everest. The two are now conquering the world separately.

Ms Bart says she is often asked if she has a death wish. But the daughter of concentration camp survivors says she is greedy for the desire to do things denied to her relatives who died in the Holocaust.

Ms Bart will be blogging at CherylBart.net, and raising funds for the Australian Himalayan Foundation and Chris O'Brien Lifehouse.

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