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How climbing Everest has left Mollie Hughes feeling on top of the world

Most of us will never get close to summiting Everest, but that doesn’t mean we can’t borrow from the wisdom and insights of somebody who has, writes Abi Jackson.

At 21 – an age where most of us are navigating the rocky routes of job applications and trying to clamber out of the treacherous ravines of student overdrafts – Mollie Hughes became one of the youngest ever Brits to summit Mount Everest.

A keen climber, she’d written her university dissertation on the psychology of climbing Everest, the world’s highest mountain (a staggering 8,848m), and then set her mind to conquering it herself, via the south side.

Now, she’s making a second attempt, this time from the north side.

If successful, Devon-born Mollie, who’s now 26 and lives in Edinburgh, will become the youngest Brit in history – as well as the youngest European woman and first English woman – to scale both the south and north sides of Everest.

After six weeks on the mountain, if all goes to plan, Mollie hopes to hit the summit on May 19 and return to base camp by May 22, to be home early June.

We caught up with Mollie before she set off. Here, she shares five things she’s learned from conquering Everest that could apply in all aspects of life…

From her own experience she has learned that you don’t have to start off confident to have self-belief

Mollie says: “Self-belief is a different thing to self-confidence. Self-belief is this deep-down feeling that you can do something and achieve something in your life – but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you feel confident in different kinds of social settings, or whatever.

“Growing up, at school I was super-shy. I never put my hand up in class, and even at university, presentations or any public speaking was really hard.

“But I always had this deep-down belief that I could do something with my life, and over the years, with the expeditions I’ve been on, it’s all increased my self-belief. It’s made me realise I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it. Confidence is something that grows with time.

“Since summiting Everest the first time, I’ve done a lot of public speaking, and now it’s something I really enjoy doing.”

She also believes stepping out of your everyday routine helps you appreciate things more.

“Getting outside for anything, whether it’s going for a hike in the mountains or hills nearby, that removal, and being in nature and escaping the city for just a few hours or a couple of days, everyone can learn a lot from that,” she says.

“When climbing Everest, you’re away from home for two months.

“You’re not thinking about things like phones and computers, work or whatever.

“You’re just focused on getting through the day; your climbing, making sure you’re safe, well hydrated, eating enough, so you really have to take it back to basics. It makes you appreciate things when you get back to your normal routine.”

The key to climbing Everest or doing anything is preparation and focus.

“We’ve been preparing for this expedition for over two…

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