Israeli flag makes Everest trek

On May 24, 2008, Cheryl, left, and Nikki Bart became the first mother-daughter team to reach the summit of Mount Everest. (BigPondEverest.com)

On May 24, 2008, Cheryl, left, and Nikki Bart became the first mother-daughter team to reach the summit of Mount Everest. (BigPondEverest.com)

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – The first mother-daughter team to reach the summit of Mount Everest waved an Israeli flag on their way to the top.

Cheryl Bart and her daughter Nikki of Sydney arrived atop the world’s highest mountain in the wee hours of May 24, Nepal time.

“I am at the top of the world,” Cheryl Bart radioed back to her colleagues at Everest Base Camp.

On Tuesday, a day after descending to the base camp, Cheryl Bart told JTA by satellite phone, “It hasn’t really sunk in.”

She said the view from the summit was awe-inspiring.

“Stepping up onto the roof of the world, my feeling was one of awe, silence and awe, that I was there,” Bart said. “It was a full moon, so when you lifted your head up you could see the reflection of the mountain. It was quite spectacular. The sun just started to rise over in Tibet, so the pink clouds and pink tops of these mighty mountains were awesome.”

Mother and daughter both are graduates of Moriah College, Australia’s largest Jewish school. Cheryl is a non-executive director of several companies in Australia as well as an ambassador of the Australian chapter of the Peres Center for Peace.

Nikki Bart, in her final year of medical school, is co-chair of the Medical Students’ Aid Project, which donates medical equipment and pharmaceuticals to Third World hospitals.

They are also the first mother-daughter duo to scale the peaks of the so-called seven summits – the highest mountains on each continent.

With a small flag of Israel in their backpack, the pair arrived in Nepal at the end of March, taking weeks to acclimate to the high altitude and bitter cold in preparation for temperatures that plunged to minus 30 degrees Celsius. They also had to overcome several setbacks during their ascent: the weather, nearby avalanches and high security when the Olympic torch was carried up the mountain.

On Tuesday, Cheryl Bart said she was looking forward to going home to Australia and new challenges beyond.

“We have to go home and we can’t wait to see family and friends, have more showers and eat ice cream,” she said. “But having reached the highest point on earth, we should probably go to the Dead Sea.”

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