Did you know that Croatia is the only country in the world that had more female climbers on the top of Mt Everest than man?
Former Republic Yugoslavia and its active climbers had a strong influence on the global climbing scene. Yugoslavian alpinists began making impressive climbs in the Himalaya as early as 1960. Their first ascents of the 8000ers came by the 70s. Croatian climbing association was formed as early as in 1974 and was the 8th organization of that kind in the world.
The first climbs were reserved solely for man but woman soon began to participate and achieve results in this discipline. One of the Croatian first noted female success came as early as in 1969 when an expedition consisting of both male and female members reached the Demavend peak in Iran (5610).
One of the most active woman climbers of that period were Barbara Lapenna Brakus and Ana Maar.
Barbaras results include summiting Pik Lenjin in 1980, (7134m), summiting Cotopaxi (6005m) the highest volcano in the world situated in Ecuador, climbing the Chinese peak Muztagh Ata (7546m) and many other.
Ana was a member of expeditions to Nepal (Manaslu 8156m and Annapurna south 7219m) and the Caucasus in 1981 and has successfully summited the Ismoil Somoni Peak (then known as Communism Peak – 7495m) in 1982.
Both of the women, along with other active female climbers of the period that were not mentioned in this text, were following their dreams when mountaineering was still thought to be primary masculine activity. With their results, they have proved that there are no important gender differences when it comes to results in climbing and following your heart in general.
We are also proud to say that the modern Croatian female mountaineering has had remarkable results.
The first female expedition set off in 2007 with the intention of climbing Mt. Cho Oyu whose names translates as the Turquoise Goddess in Tibetan and is the 6th highest mountain in the world. There are only 4 female expeditions that have managed to summit a peak higher than 8 000 meters and Croatian team is one of them. The total preparation lasted for over a year, the expedition itself lasted for 48 days and 5 of the girls managed to summit the peak.
Following this success, in 2009 a second female expedition was formed with its primary goal being summiting Mt Everest. The expedition was a big success and 4 of the woman (Darija and Iris Bostjanci´c, Milena ijan and Ena Vrbek) had reached the top of the world.
The expedition was named the greatest Croatian sports success in 2009 and was granted by one of the worlds largest outdoor wear and equipment producer Millet, as the Millet Expedition Laureate 2009.
We hope that the success of our female mountaineers in conquering some of the worlds highest peaks will encourage others to follow in their footsteps, get back in touch with themselves and with the nature surrounding. We believe that reconnecting with the nature in and around us is a good way of creating a much happier, satisfied and emotionally balanced individual and society in general.