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Mountain Climber Stacy Allison

The first woman to summit Mount Everest talks about what it takes to succeed

By Grace Choi | null , null
Stacy Allison talks to Scholastic Kid Reporter Grace Choi in Portland, Oregon, in February 2007. (Photo courtesy Grace Choi)
Stacy Allison talks to Scholastic Kid Reporter Grace Choi in Portland, Oregon, in February 2007. (Photo courtesy Grace Choi)

As a kid, Stacy Allison visited Mount Hood in Oregon every weekend. She told herself that one day she would climb it. She did more than that. Allison has since become the first woman to climb Mount Everest, which is just one of her many accomplishments.

The avid climber and motivational speaker recently talked to Scholastic News about reaching her goals and the failures and successes she’s faced along the way.

Allison didn’t start climbing until her first year of college. One of her classmates posted a notice on a bulletin board that he was going to Zion National Park in southwest Utah to climb mountains. He was looking for someone to join him. After her day at the park, Allison said she knew what she was meant to do: climb.

Allison’s experience in conquering mountains has made a huge impact on other areas of her life. For every goal she sets, she always gives it her best. That has lead to a successful career as a motivational speaker. She also owns and operates Stacy Allison General Contracting, a residential building company in Portland, Oregon. She is a successful author, wife, and mother of two sons.

Reach for a Dream

Climbing mountains is a lot of work and takes a lot of dedication, she said. And believe it or not, climbing is more mental than physical because your body wears down a lot faster than your mind.

“You have to mentally push your body far beyond what you think it is capable of doing,” she told Scholastic News. “It’s very tedious . . . yet at the same time you have to stay focused so you don’t make any mistakes.”

Reaching the summit of Mount Everest was one of her first major goals, but she didn’t make it the first time. After suffering the disappointment of having to turn back in 1987 she knew she had to try again. On the 29th day of her second expedition to Mount Everest, she reached the top. She was 29 years old and the day was Sept. 29, 1988.

After her success, she started talking—professionally. She uses her experience from climbing Mount Everest as a metaphor for achieving success in life. As a motivational business speaker, she talks about different things, but teamwork is a large part of her message.

“I tell stories from my Mount Everest climb and then I relate those stories back to the audience and what they’re going through,” she said. “It’s important that people figure out what it is they want to achieve in this life, and work through the fears that go along with that, and the failures that go along with that."

Being the first U.S woman to climb the world’s tallest mountain didn’t change her personality, she said, but it did open up new opportunities.

So who was Allison’s role model growing up? Who helped her become the success she is today? Allison gives that credit to her mother, calling her the strongest person she ever knew. Her mother worked full time and raised five kids all by herself.

“She is absolutely the most incredible woman I know,” said Allison.

Allison is herself an incredible woman, and a great role model for any young woman. Allison said her main ambition now is to give back to her community by using her experience in climbing. She is the chairperson for “Reach the Summit,” the largest fundraiser in the state for the American Lung Association of Oregon.

It’s not your typical fundraiser. Participants go on a two-day training and hiking session on mountain safety and alpine climbing techniques with Allison. They all work as a team to raise money, motivate, and inspire.

"In any endeavor, leaders should inspire members of the team with a passion for success, " Allison said. "One of the most crucial things to realize, feel, and remember, is that when one team member succeeds, the entire team succeeds."

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About the Author

Grace Choi is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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