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How to Hike: Top Tips from the First Black and Latina Woman on Everest

Decathlon ambassador, Aretha Duarte, took us on a tour at almost 2km altitude

Last Sunday (May 19, 2024), Boa Forma received a very special invitation: to hike with Aretha Duarte, the first Black and Latinx woman to reach the top of Mount Everest.

Equipped with Decathlon equipment, a brand of which Aretha is an ambassador, we made the trip to São Bento do Sapucaí to tackle the Pedra do Balanço trail, at 1,700 m altitude.

During the trip, Aretha provided some essential advice for anyone planning to undertake a journey (whether beginner or advanced):

Aretha took us to the top, on a 1.5 hour trail

The bat is your friend

The use of a pole is essential when walking on uncertain terrain. And the advice is to adjust it throughout the course, not just at the beginning: “the club should always be held so that the elbow forms a 90 degree angle with the forearm”. This means that on uphill terrain the pole will be shorter as it will be in front of your body at a higher altitude. During the descent, on the other hand, the pole should be longer to maintain its 90 degree angle on the arm when you place it on the lower ground in front of you – and we promise: using the pole during the descent is essential to the balance.

Indian tail is good for you and the environment

It may be tempting to explore different routes along the trail, but it is essential to always stay back (about 2 arms’ length) from each other. This will ensure not only the safety of trail participants but also the integrity of nature. “Nature tends to open a path where people walk a lot, so it is essential to avoid taking more than one path, so that the forest remains as intact as possible,” says Aretha,

Clothes are more than vanity

A backpack that fits across your waist and chest will distribute the weight of your luggage so it doesn’t burden your shoulders. Plus, sneakers aren’t always the same ones you wear at the gym. It must have a very resistant upper and a harder sole, especially on uncertain terrain.

And avoid wearing shorts if it’s a more “closed” trail (with a lot of bush). The pants have the role of protecting you from insects, forest cuts and even the sun.

The garbage is in the garbage

Yes, even the organic ones. “Many people think that things like fruit peels can be thrown into nature because they are ‘fertilizer’, but that’s not the case. You don’t know if that fruit is typical of the region, if it contains pesticides… In order not to disturb the ecosystem, keep everything in a bag and dispose of it properly at the end of your route,” says Aretha, who takes the opportunity to say that this is a typical problem on Everest: the rubbish accumulated along the route.

Correct breathing

The ideal breath is one that expands your belly and chest when you inhale and contracts when you exhale. This breathing is ideal for keeping oxygen flowing when you feel tired. It may be difficult to maintain this throughout the course, but whenever you notice that you are panting, remember to resume this exercise.

Source: Terra

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