Leah Jay is feeling on top of the world… literally.
The Newcastle businesswoman has successfully climbed Mount Everest.
The remarkable feat was part of her goal to climb “seven summits”, the highest mountains on each of the seven continents.
She embarked on this epic odyssey to honour the memory of her son Elliot, who died in 2008 at age 19 after a 12-month battle with motor neurone disease.
The Everest climb was her sixth summit.
She will now set her sights on scaling Denali mountain in Alaska.
Leah reached the top of Everest on Monday, after more than eight hours of climbing overnight.
“It is beautiful, but also extremely harsh and unforgiving,” Leah said.
“I am thrilled with my efforts and would have been whether we reached the summit or not,” she said.
“I am ever so grateful for the experience and the amazing people I encountered along the way.”
Leah, who founded the Hunter property management company that shares her name, has been in Nepal since early April with an expedition team, acclimatising to the mountain.
The team completed several journeys between base camp and the four camps above, before weather permitted a summit attempt shortly before dawn on Monday.
The dangers of climbing the mountain are never far from the news.
It was reported on Monday that three Mount Everest climbers had died.
This included 54-year-old Australian Francesco Marchetti, who died from altitude sickness.
Climbing the perilous and treacherous mountain was a massive test of Leah’s physical and mental strength.
Nonetheless, being in the mountains and pushing her limits gives her relief from the grief she carries from losing her son.
She is an advocate for raising awareness and funds for Motor Neurone Disease Australia.
She will participate in the Newcastle Big Freeze event on June 17, which will raise funds for the disease.
The event will feature a giant slide, running into a pool of ice water.