Jayanthi and Johann
Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala is the first Sri Lankan, and first Sri Lankan woman to summit Mount Everest (8,848m/29,030ft), a double record she achieved at 5:03am on 21 May 2016. She is a mountaineering professional and women’s rights advocate. Since 2003, she has worked professionally as a rock climbing instructor, while also working full-time as a women’s rights advocate. Jayanthi holds a Master’s Degree in Gender Studies from the University of Sussex, UK. She has extensive experience in rock climbing and mountaineering which spans across 9 countries. Prior to the Everest Expedition, Jayanthi worked as the Gender Specialist at CARE International Sri Lanka, on a project to reduce gender based violence in the tea plantations. Jayanthi aims to combine her experience and skills in gender and rock climbing by establishing the latter as a sport in Sri Lanka, with the goal of increasing the participation of women and girls in this activity.
An artist inspired by nature, Johann Peiris is a hair-designer by profession and adventurer by choice. He is the only Sri Lankan male to reach an altitude of 8,400m / 29,559ft, on 21 May 2016 on Mt Everest. Johann began his hair-designing career 25 years ago. Today he is one of the most sought after hair and beauty designers, and amongst the few Sri Lankans in the industry to be globally acclaimed. Presently he runs three salons, two in Colombo and one in London. From a young age, Johann has had a passion for the great outdoors, and this continues to drive him to conquer mountains both in Sri Lanka and around the globe. His first foreign exploration was the Thai-Burmese border, in 2005. As a more experienced mountaineer Johann successfully conquered Everest Base Camp in 2010, Island Peak in 2012, and Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2014.