A vet in the Army has become the first UK armed forces female to climb the highest mountain peak in each of the world’s seven continents.

Melissa Bowerman
Melissa Bowerman on her climb of Mount Vinson.

Melissa Bowerman achieved the feat after her latest scale of the 4,892m high Mount Vinson in Antarctica.

Fewer than 300 people worldwide are thought to have completed the challenge, known as the Messner Seven Summits after legendary Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner – the first man to climb all 14 of the world’s 8,000ft and higher mountains.

Military first

Lieutenant Colonel Bowerman, of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC), is one of fewer than 10 UK women to have completed the challenge and, according to the military, is “undoubtedly” the first female in the British armed forces to have succeeded.

The Army officer summited Mount Everest in 2013, before starting her arduous mission to reach the highest point in every continent; three years prior to climbing Mount Everest, she had never taken part in any mountaineering.


Lt Col Bowerman’s Antarctic journey involved pulling a sled across vast ice fields before tackling Mount Vinson, when bad weather fixed her on the mountain for more than a week.

An Army spokesman said: “Lt Col Bowerman is an outstandingly tough young veterinary surgeon and we are very proud of her in the RAVC.

“We only wonder what will be her next challenge.”

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