November 08, 2007

KCWC Rebecca Stephens MBE

I am glad this talk went well because I had recommended this speaker to Cindy Maceda who is responsible for all monthly programs for KCWC. I met Rebecca's mother Jane when she was leading a hike for the Seven Oaks Ramblers. Others on the hike told me Jane's daughter was the first British woman to climb Mt. Everest. I did some research and learned that Jane's daughter Rebecca was also the first British woman to climb the "Seven Summits" which is a list of the highest peak in each of the seven continents.

There are two lists of Seven Summits and Rebecca climbed the more challenging Messner list which includes the Carstensz Pyramid (Australia / New Guinea). The Bass List included Kosciuszko which Rebecca said could be done in an afternoon after a Sunday Roast.

Messner List by Continent, Summit, Height in Metres
1) Africa: Kilimanjaro 5,895m
2) Antarctica: Vinson Massif 4,892m
3) Australia-New Guinea: Carstensz Pyramid 4,884m
4) Asia: Everest 8,848m
5) Europe: Elbrus (NOT Mt. Blanc) 5,642m
6) North America: Mount McKinley (Denali) 6,194m
7) South America: Aconcagua 6,962m

As someone who really appreciates physical comfort and is a fairweather hiker, I realized soon into Rebecca's talk that climbing the Seven Summits was not for me (although a feisty Junko Tabei from Japan completed her 7th Summit shortly before her 55th birthday). On one of the summits (not Everest), Rebecca took her hands out of her gloves for seconds and watched frostbite start to form immediately. Once her group had to dig a snowcave and stay there for 8 days - imagine the (lack of) hygiene. She said many Everest climbers die because they simply "went too high" - no accident - you can barely breathe and your food doesn't digest at high altitudes. On one of the summits, her (male) partner who was essential because of his technical climbing expertise started to say something about "I don't think this mountain is worth dying for". She told him to put on another fleece jacket, eat a biscuit, and keep going. They got to the summit soon after. This is not me in this life!

Although physical endurance is certainly required, Rebecca said "Drive" is the most important success factor in climbing the Seven Summits or any other pursuit for that matter. Rebecca's current business as a Motivational Speaker and Leadership Coach for Seven Summits Performance Ltd is based on applying the lessons she learned while mountaineering to life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Firstly, congratulations, Carrie for this wonderful BlogSite!
Secondly, thank you ever so much for leading us to Rebecca!! I heard her talk at KCWC. She is a unique individual and has, with her record achievments, done us Women proud! After hearing her inspiring (and much-too-modest) account of climbing the tallest peaks on each continent, complemented by extraordinary photos she herself took (and those her Sherpa freinds took of her), I am determined to make it up Kilimanjaro. That will have to be my Everest. Let me see: what record might I try for? First Filipina 53 year old woman to shampoo her hair at 20,000 feet, perhaps? ;-D

Barnes, London