Joyce Azzam speaks during a roundtable with journalists in Beirut, July 18, 2019. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Joyce Azzam came into the spotlight earlier this year when she became the first Lebanese woman to summit the highest peaks on all of the world's seven continents, an accomplishment seven years in the making.Azzam battled for more than seven weeks to reach the roof of the world, at 8,848 meters, battling altitude sickness, sheer walls of ice and terrifyingly deep crevices. Ahead of her Himalayan challenge, Azzam conquered the highest peaks on the six other continents: Mount Elbrus, 5,642 meters (Europe); Puncak Jaya, 4,884 meters (Oceania); Kilimanjaro, 5,895 meters (Africa); Aconcagua, 6,962 meters (South America); Denali, 6,190 meters (North America); and Vinson Massif, 4,892 meters (Antarctica).With this in mind, Azzam has begun working on a mountain management plan with the Nepalese authorities that she hopes will be implemented ahead of next year's summiting season, which falls in May, depending on weather conditions.During her expeditions to the six other summits of the challenge, Azzam observed how local authorities often implemented tighter rules on trash and pollution compared to Everest, especially when it came to relieving oneself on the mountainside.
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