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Ontario Climber is First Canadian Woman Up K2 – Also Summits Everest and Gasherbrum II

Liliya Ianovskaia has a standout season in the Himalayas and Karakoram, summiting three of the 14 8,000-metre peaks

K2 climbing ascend himalayas

The list of Canadians that have climbed K2, the world’s second highest mountain, is very short but just increased by one thanks to Liliya Ianovskaia’s recent ascent.

At the end of July, Ianovskaia became the first Canadian woman and oldest female to summit K2 (8,611 m) at the age of 62. The previous record was held by Vanessa O’Brien, who was 52 when she reached the top of K2 in 2017.

Ianovskaia’s historical summit came on the heels of climbing Everest (8,849 m), which she had attempted in 2021. And to top it all off, she continued her impressive Himalayan season with a successful climb of Gasherbrum II – the world’s 13th highest mountain at 8,035 metres. Since 2019, she’s climbed five of the 14 8,000ers, including Cho Oyu and Manaslu.

Ianovskaia has also climbed Aconcagua (6,962 m), Matterhorn (4,478 m), Pico de Arizaba (5,636 m), Cotopaxi (5,897 m), Lobuche (6,119 m), Antisana (5,804 m), Ama Dablam (6,856 m), Alpamayo (5,947 m) and Huarapasca (5,418 m).

Ianovskaia took up mountaineering at the age of 50, after the birth of her third granddaughter. Less than two years later, in 2011, she went on her first expedition, joined by her daughter Dasha (who also climbed Everest this spring) for a successful climb of Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) in Tanzania.

For more photos and stories from the world’s biggest mountains, be sure to follow Ianovskaia on Instagram below and on Facebook here.

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