Family and students welcome home Hong Kong woman who conquered Everest

Ada Tsang tells teens ‘there is always a way to overcome’ challenges

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 May, 2017, 1:05pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 May, 2017, 11:26pm

“In pursuing your dreams, you will face a lot of difficulties,” Ada Tsang Yin-hung said, “but there is always a way to overcome them.”

The former secondary school teacher, who last week became the first Hong Kong woman to conquer Mount Everest, said on Sunday morning that she wanted to give that message to teenagers.

The 40-year-old was beaming with joy as she came through the arrival gate at Hong Kong International Airport, a week after reaching the world’s highest peak with fellow Hongkonger Elton Ng Chun-ting, a physiotherapist, and Zhang Jianguo, an amateur mountaineer from Jiangsu province.

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Her family and students were there to welcome her home.

“Seeing that she is safe makes me happiest and is the most important, I couldn’t sleep or eat [before that],” Tsang’s mother said.

“Every day I hear the news reporting how many people died [while climbing the mountain].”

But while she was worried for her daughter, she did not object to the adventure and had confidence in the former teacher, she said.

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Despite the strenuous expedition, Tsang was lively and excited as she recalled the experience.

“The climb was very smooth this time,” she said, noting that her physical condition had been better this time around compared with her previous two attempts.

She made her first attempt in 2014, but was forced to abandon the trek after an avalanche near the base camp killed 16 Nepali Sherpa guides, leading to the suspension of all expeditions that season.

She returned to the Himalayas the next year. That time she was caught up in an avalanche triggered by a 7.9-magnitude earthquake that killed 17 climbers and fractured her skull.

During her latest trip, she was even able to help a teammate who got into trouble as they were reaching the peak.

“A teammate said his limbs were numb, and couldn’t walk, so I pushed him up and we took half an hour to climb about 40 metres,” she said.

Lo Chak-fung, one of Tsang’s former students, went to welcome her at the airport. He said Tsang’s achievement was an inspiration to him.

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“[Tsang] had three attempts before reaching the summit of Mount Everest, and it is because of natural disasters and not her abilities,” he said.

“[This taught us that] when we face certain problems, it might not be because we have not prepared enough, but rather because of external factors.

“But that does not mean we should give up just because it did not work out the first time round, we should continue to work towards our goals.”

Tsang said she hoped to join a group of mainland Chinese to continue training in mountain climbing.

But for now, she is just looking forward to catching some sleep and enjoying her mother’s hearty chicken and fish broth.