Published: 13.06.2019

An exclusive article about Klára Kolouchová, who became the first Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and is also a proud patron of the DofE programme. The article was written during a travel evening in Prague, where Klára and Petr Jan Juračka told about their adventures.

"Never give up, dreams are all we have."

This is one of the favourite quotes of mountaineer Klára Kolouchová, who has climbed several eight-thousanders, including the highest one. In a few weeks, she is going to climb K2a mountain with a less than flattering reputation.

Klára, together with her colleague Petr Juračka, found a moment in their busy calendars to speak at the DofE travel evening for participants, which took place 11 June in Prague and was aptly titled: Overcome Your Limits. And overcoming your limits was also the topic of the whole evening. Clara is, among other things, the patron of our programme and we are very happy that the DofE programme is supported by someone so brave, inspiring and determined to fulfil her dreams. Thanks also to Peter for sharing his wonderful images from different parts of the world with us even on a sultry day like Tuesday. For all of you who were unable to attend the travel evening, here is a little glimpse into Klara's experiences.

During the evening, a question was asked from the audience whether Klára had been interested in mountains since she was young. Klára replied that she had not particularly enjoyed them. She had always loved nature, but she had not planned to one day stand on the top of Mount Everest, nor did she come from a mountaineering family. It all started when she met a friend from New Zealand in London in 2004, where she had a very successful management career. He decided to climb the highest mountain in South America (Aconcagua, 6962 m)and she decided to give it a shot with him. In 2005 she stood on the summit, alone, because her friend was prevented from climbing by altitude sickness, but the feeling was unforgettable and changed Klara's whole life. After this experience she fell in love with climbing mountains and wondered what was next and how much higher she could climb. The mountain followed Cho Oyu (8201 m), which she climbed with the grandson of the famous Tenzing Norgay, who together with Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the summit of Everest in 1953. And what was higher, as seen from the summit of Cho Oyu? Only Everest. Tashi Tenzing asked her if she would climb it with him next year and she said yes.

Then he returned to London and prepared to climb the highest mountain in the world. How can anyone prepare for an 8,000-foot peak in flat London, you ask yourself? All you have to do is live on the edge of the city, run to work every day with a crozier on your back and run up the fire escapes of high-rise buildings on your lunch breaks. There was a lot more to the preparation, of course, but even in London it's manageable because 16. 5. 2007 Klára became the first Czech woman to reach the top Mt. Everest (8848 m).

More mountains followed and several attempts to climb the dreaded K2 (8611 m). Why is K2 more challenging, even though it is almost 200 metres lower than Mt. Everest? First of all, it is because of the unpredictability of the weather. There are years when no one manages to climb it. Another complication is the significantly greater height difference between base camp and the top of the mountain than Everest. You also need to have a good climbing technique as it has many challenging passages. According to Klara's words, Mt. Everest can be done by a well-trained athlete, but for K2 only fitness is not enough. In a few weeks, Klara will have her 3rd attempt to climb this mountain. The first attempt was thwarted by an avalanche and the second by an insidious bacteria. In mid-May, in preparation for K2, Klara climbed the 3rd highest mountain in the world, which is called Kanchenjunga (8586 m). Klára told us that after K2 she will take a break again for a while.

A pearl for the end: Klara buys a new lipstick before every expedition, it's an important ritual for her. On behalf of the DofE we wish you good luck for the climb, because all the best for the third time!


Read more about Clara's expeditions on

See beautiful photos on the website of Petr Jan Juracka, who went with Klara on a previous expedition to K2

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