Scaling the heights

A UNSW medical student is preparing to climb her way into the record books, by scaling Mount Everest as part of a unique team.

Nikki cheryl bart inside

Twenty-three-year-old medical student Nikki Bart and her mother, Cheryl Bart, who is an alumna of UNSW, hope to be the first mother-and-daughter team to conquer the world's highest mountain.

The pair has already scaled six of the Seven Summits - the tallest peaks on each of the world's seven continents - together.

They will start the two-month, 8850-metre trek late next week (28th March).

Nikki has taken leave from her final year of undergraduate medicine, and Cheryl from her stellar corporate career, to prepare for the climb.

The rigorous training schedule includes Thai kickboxing, cardio and cycle classes, weights and long hikes with a 25-kilo backpack.

While managing sporting achievements and training, Nikki has still managed to thrive in her studies and contribute to campus life. She was the co-chair of the Medical Students Aid Project last year and won a prize for her studies in Dermatology.

"From when I started Medicine, I always said I wanted balance in my life. I never wanted to be consumed by it," she says. "Climbing keeps me sane. I won't take a single textbook.

"The Medical Faculty has been good in supporting me to combine climbing and medicine," says Nikki. "The Director of Medical Student Education at St Vincent's Clinical School, Eva Segelov, was so helpful in helping me to study during the holidays, so I could keep up with the climbing seasons."

And she plans to keep climbing - even once she becomes a doctor.

"I love it. I don't think it ends after Everest," she says.

The mother and daughter team hopes to have reached the peak by 7th June.

You can watch the climb on the sponsor website.