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TRANSPORTING YOU TO THE HIGHEST PEAK
The first British woman to climb Everest – this is the achievement for which Rebecca is best known. She tells the story as if it were yesterday, transporting her audience – and seemingly herself – to the summit of the highest mountain of the world. It is a deeply personal story. She was working in London as a reporter. An assignment took her to Everest, to report on an expedition attempting to scale an unclimbed ridge, and curiosity – why do climbers climb? – led her to climb herself, beyond the base camp to a point high on the North East Ridge. Her life was changed. For the first time in her 27 years she knew exactly what it was she wanted to do.
Rebecca talks of the importance of listening to your inner voice, to ensure that thoughts, feelings and actions are aligned – and of not fearing to be overly ambitious. But most importantly she talks about the team, how nothing of any scale is achieved alone, and about the three graces of teamwork – respect, trust and honesty. She talks about overcoming obstacles and the ‘circle of influence’, accepting what you can and cannot control, and doing everything within your power, working with others, to succeed.
The messages from Rebecca’s stories are timeless and pertinent for people of any age, but the year Rebecca climbed Everest, 1993, allows her to bridge the old Everest with the new. She has observed and understands the commercial era that has taken hold on the mountain since the mid 1990s, and, as trustee and chair of the Himalayan Trust UK, she has a deep understanding and love of the Sherpas and their communities. But her role in the Himalayan Trust UK also carried the privilege of befriending climbers of the British Everest expedition of 1953 – John Hunt, Ed Hillary, George Lowe, George Band and Michael Westmacott. Few people have had the privilege of ‘touching’ this bygone mountaineering age and have such a comprehensive knowledge of Everest both historically and in the modern era.