Tel Aviv lawyer on Everest hopes to become first Israeli woman to reach summit

Danielle Wolfson says she wants to show that ‘every woman can reach her Everest’; a skiing accident a decade ago left her bedridden for months

Danielle Wolfson climbs the face of Mount Everest. (Screenshot/Ch. 13)
Danielle Wolfson climbs the face of Mount Everest. (Screenshot/Ch. 13)

The woman aiming to be the first Israeli female to summit Mount Everest has just a few weeks left on her journey to the mountain’s peak, according to Channel 13.

Danielle Wolfson, 43, a lawyer who lives in Tel Aviv, was born in Russia and moved to Israel when she was 10 years old. A lifelong lover of sports, she trained for months before setting off to Kathmandu, Nepal, earlier this year.

Wolfson is several weeks into her Everest climb, which usually takes around two months to complete. She has ascended nearly 5,000 meters, with 3,400 more to go, according to Channel 13.

“I have fears, but there I feel like I’m myself,” Wolfson told Channel 13. “To stand there, to be a woman, to reach the summit and to raise the Israeli flag, and to say: ‘I was here too, on the famous Mount Everest.'”

In 2011, Wolfson suffered a serious ski accident that left her with multiple broken bones. Doctors said it wasn’t clear if she would walk again.

“I told myself, ‘I will show everyone. I will climb Everest.'” As she was confined to bed for months, thoughts of climbing the highest mountain in the world kept her going, she said.

Danielle Wolfson (Screenshot/Ch. 13)

In January, Wolfson departed Israel for Copiapó, Chile, where she climbed Ojos del Salada, the highest volcano in the world. She told Haaretz at the time that the trip was a practice run for Everest.

“I train every day by running, swimming, bicycling, as part of a triathlon group,” she said of her efforts to prepare herself for climbing Everest. “With mountains it’s not a matter of speed, it’s a matter of stamina — being on your feet for hours.”

In March, Wolfson climbed Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe. At the top of each mountain, she said, she waves an Israeli flag.

“I have a rule. On every summit I hoist an Israeli flag,” she said. “I wasn’t born here, I came from Russia when I was 10, but I am so Israeli, in every artery. From my point of view, as a woman, just to reach the top and hoist a flag is an honor. It’s not that I’m some sort of feminist, but for me it’s an honor that a woman can do that, to hoist a flag on summits where no Israeli has been.”

Mount Everest (Wikimedia Commons)

Last week, Wolfson reached the base camp on the south side of the mountain, which means she has just weeks until she will be able to stand atop the peak and wave her flag.

Wolfson told Haaretz in January that reaching the peak of Everest has been a longtime dream.

“No woman in Israel has done it yet, only three men,” she said. “It’s a dream for me, both in order to test my limits and to show that it’s possible — that every woman can reach her Everest.”

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