Melissa Arnot is an incredible, inspirational woman. On May 22, 2013, she summited Everest for the fifth time, making her the female American record holder for most Everest summits. Lakpa Sherpa, a Nepalese climber who lives in Connecticut holds the female world record with 6 summits. I have been following Melissa on her Everest journey through her adventure blog at her website, and her entries always provide good food for thought.
Melissa writes in such a way that her day-to-day activities are really more of a byline, not the real story. She honestly shares her feelings about her experience, always returning to self-introspection and contemplation. She has this special way of talking about her climbing in a way that relates to life as a whole, and I value that.
She writes, “Experience cannot be measured by distance or time. They have a different weight altogether. I’m thankful for the opportunity to try new things or try old things that have become new again.” For me, I feel that same gratitude every time river season rolls around each year, looking forward to seeing new rivers but appreciative of the good ol’ stand by ones.
This woman has summited Rainier over 90 times, Aconcagua and Cotopaxi BOTH 4 times, Denali once, and many other mountains. She is a total badass, no question. Yet for her, it’s not only about her personal achievements, she simply loves to be on the mountain. Her work as a guide for Rainier Mountaineering Institute since 2004 has allowed her to be a part of other peoples’ dreams to summit mountains, and she’s chosen to expand these trip leads internationally. Sure, I bet these tours provide her with extra income, but they also allow her to keep doing what she loves; climbing mountains. As she says in her bio, “She is passionate about climbing and pushing her own limits, but her ultimate joy comes from taking that journey with others, helping them push their limits and get to their own summit.”
I’m no Melissa Arnot, but I feel I can relate to her, in my work as an international tour leader and river guide. For me, adventure travel and being outdoors is such a passion, but now it’s evolved into sharing and facilitating that experience with others. And I truly love what I do. Kudos to Melissa for following her passion, inspiring climbers and adventurers alike, and keeping true to her roots as a mountain guide.
Climb on girl.
*Photo from www.MelissaArnot.com