Stacy's climbed the world's most famous mountain, now she's
helping organizations across the globe scale their own monumental challenges.
Stacy Allison brings a vast range of experiences and
knowledge to her energetic and dynamic presentations. Stacy is best known as
the First American woman to summit Mt. Everest. She is also president of
Stacy Allison General Contracting, a residential building company. She serves
on the Board of Trustees of National University and is the Chairperson for The
Oregon Lung Association's fundraiser, Reach the Summit. Remarkably, she is
also a successful author and committed mother of two.
At the age of 21, Stacy began major alpine climbing in
earnest and achieved rapid success. Within a year, Stacy reached the top of
Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, the highest point in North America, and was part of the
first successful women’s ascent of Ama Dablam, the 22,495 foot peak known as
Nepal’s Matterhorn. These accomplishments provided the groundwork for much
Stacy was the
first American woman to top Pik Communism, at 24,600 feet, the tallest peak in
the Russian Pamir Range.
On her first attempt on Mt Everest,
Stacy did not summit. She describes the challenge: “The worst storm in forty
years trapped us in a snow cave at 23,500 feet for five days. Turning back
can be the most important yet difficult decision of all, particularly when
there is so much pressure to succeed.” Stacy reflects, “If you see yourself as
trying to beat the mountain, eventually the mountain will win. You don’t
conquer mountains, you cooperate with them." Stacy returned to Mt. Everest
with the Northwest American Everest Expedition. On September 29, 1988, after
twenty-nine days on the mountain, Stacy became the first American woman to
reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the world’s highest mountain at 29,028 feet.
Stacy then went on to become the leader of a successful K2
expedition, the world's second highest mountain, considered to be the most
difficult peak on Earth to climb. Three of the team of seven made it to the
top; after an accident to the third, in keeping with her view of teamwork and
leadership, Stacy and the others descended. "In any endeavor, leaders should
inspire members of the team with a passion for success, " Stacy says, "but
within the framework of team effort. One of the most crucial things to
realize, feel and remember, is that when one team member succeeds, the entire
Stacy’s experiences extend well beyond the mountains. She
also owns and operates Stacy Allison General Contracting. She and her team of
builders specialize in high end restoration. Stacy and her team, steadfastly
preserves the charm and integrity of classic old homes while achieving
financial success. In the spirit of giving back to her community, Stacy Chairs
the American Lung Association of Oregon’s largest fundraiser, Reach the
Stacy’s first book, Beyond The Limits: A Woman’s Triumph on
Everest, is a suspenseful, triumphant adventure story. Her second , Many
Mountains to Climb; Reflections on Competence, Courage and Commitment is an
exciting anecdotal account of climbing challenges practically applied to help
you plot your way more surely to professional and personal success. Stacy also
contributed a chapter on Leadership in the book, Upward Bound, published by
Stacy Allison Q&A, enjoy...
1. Was your family supportive
of your climbing?
My family was not very
supportive when I first began climbing. Climbing is a dangerous sport and
they were concerned about me getting hurt or dying. They thought it was
very selfish. However, as the years passed, they came to understand how
important climbing is to me, how it is such a huge part of who I am. They
are now very supportive.
2. Were you treated any
different from your male climbing partners?
Not really. The men I climb
with treat me as an equal. I look at myself as a person first, and I just
happen to be a woman. When I'm climbing, I don't focus on myself as a
woman so, neither do the men. Also, I am respected by people in the
climbing community for my skills and ability.
3. When did you decide to
climb Mt. Everest?
I made Everest my goal after
climbing a very difficult route (Cassin Ridge) on Mt. McKinley in Alaska.
At the time, this was the most difficult climbing I had done. My climbing
partner and I only planned six days for the climb-it took us eleven. When
I reached the top of McKinley I felt an incredible swell of emotion. I
looked around and felt like I could see forever. And then I thought, if I
could climb McKinley, then why not Everest? Six years, and many mountains
later, I finally got my chance. I climbed for twelve years before I
4. Did you reach the top on
your first try?
I did not reach the top on
my first try. Our team of 15 Americans, no Sherpas, attempted the direct
North Face of Mt. Everest from Tibet. We made it to 26,000 feet. On our
way to the top a severe storm slammed into the mountain and trapped us in
a snow cave at 23,500 feet for five days . When the storm subsided we
continued up to 25,500 feet and spent another three days, each day trying
to climb higher, but winds on the mountain were still blowing over 100
mph. Finally, we retreated. I knew I still wanted to climb Everest. I
wasn't going to give up. I went back the following year and reached the
5. Did anyone die on your
No. Our number one goal was
for everyone to come back safe and sound, with all our fingers and toes.
Our second goal was the top. No one died. We had two minor injuries when
our team was hit by an avalanche. Don Goodman and one of our Sherpas were
swept thirty feet into a crevasse. Don broke his finger and they both had
minor cuts and bruises.
6. What do you eat?
At basecamp we eat like we
would at home. For breakfast we have eggs, pancakes, hot cereal, coffee,
tea, milk. Lunches can be sandwiches, soup, dried fruit, vegetables, nuts.
Dinners are usually soup, rice, potatoes or pasta, some sort of meat or
lentils, and dessert. Once we begin climbing and have to carry everything
up the mountain on our backs, weight becomes crucial, so we usually eat
high calorie light weight foods. Breakfasts are hot chocolate, hot cereal,
lots of sugar and butter. Some climbers will eat butter cubes straight,
like a popsicle. Not me. My favorite breakfast was a cup of freeze dried
potatoes with half a cube of butter. Other climbers don't even drain the
grease off their bacon. They eat it. Lunches are usually taken in the form
of snacking all day on dried fruit, candy bars, power bars, nuts, canned
fish, cheese, dense breads. Dinners are typically soup, freeze dried
dinner, hot drinks. The most important thing on a mountain is to stay
hydrated. We must drink an incredible amount of liquid. Between 7-9 quarts
of water a day. If you become dehydrated you become weak and tired. When
you hydrate you stay strong and healthy. I usually drank a lot of my
calories with a high carbohydrate/high calorie drink mix. 1000 calories
per quart of water. Many climbers lose weight on climbs, not me. I either
stay the same or even gain weight. But it takes training to make yourself
eat and drink at high altitude, because you tend you lose your appetite
the higher you go.
7. Have you seen a Yeti?
No, I haven't. I'd sure love
to see one sometime!
8. When did you start
I began climbing during
spring break my first year of college. A friend and I saw a notice on a
bulletin board in our dorm from someone who was looking for people to
share a ride down to Zion National Park in southern Utah. He was going
climbing. Well, it intrigued us and we signed up! I fell in love with
climbing almost immediately. I knew this was what I was meant to do.
9. Why did you want to climb
I wanted to climb Everest to
test myself. I wanted to know if I was tough enough physically and
mentally to climb to the top. I wanted to know if I had the skills to do
it. I also wanted to know what it would be like to stand on the top of the
10. Have you ever had altitude
No. I have the type of
physiology that does well at high altitude. I seem to actually get
stronger at altitude.
11. Were you ever afraid?
Sure. There are always times
on a climb that get a little scary. However, I never thought I was going
to die. In order to move upwards in climbing, I have to recognize that I
am afraid, and really pay attention. I have to ask myself: "Am I afraid
because I'm in a dangerous situation or is it psychological?" If I'm in a
dangerous situation, then I should be afraid. But the important thing here
is to control the emotion of fear, to be able to do what needs to be done
even though you're afraid in order to get safe again. In other words, if I
freak out, my fear has control, I don't, and that puts me in even more
danger. To deal with fear you must recognize it for what it is. It's ok to
be afraid as long as you don't let your fear stop you.
Stacy’s mission is to motivate people to move beyond
limitations and reach for their dreams. She challenges her audiences to
lay the foundation for risk taking by accepting full responsibility for
their lives. She also emphasizes the importance of recognizing and
valuing everyone’s contribution as a team member in life’s pursuits.
on Stacy see here.
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