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  • Jeannette McGill

Mountaineering Moments #5 . . . Jessica Hepburn

Jessica was a client on Pik Lenin in Kyrgyzstan alongside Mandy Ramsden and me. Her enthusiasm and broad smile were infectious. While I took lengthy afternoon naps, I discovered that Jessica kept pounding her laptop keyboard completing her second published book 📚Jessica has swum the English Channel and run the London Marathon to raise awareness for fertility – she has endured 11 gruelling rounds of IVF herself; and brings a voice to fertility realities through the Arts and Adventure.

Now her sights are firmly set on Everest. Follow her “Pond to Peak Challenge” initiative. Only a handful of people have completed both swimming the English Channel and summitting Mount Everest, and I’m sure even fewer women! She was on Manaslu last Fall in preparation for Everest, and unfortunately my own weather delay on Dhaulagiri meant we never crossed paths to catch up in person in Kathmandu. Hopefully next year! 🎈

🏔 Favourite mountain expedition to date: Well, it has to be the one I haven't done yet! Right now I'm supposed to be on route to Everest - an expedition I've been working towards for four years and has been cancelled due to corona-virus. It's a huge disappointment not to be there but the way I figure it, I now have another year to train and to enjoy the journey - after all, it's all about the journey not just the summit!

🏔 Top 2 gear must haves: - oh that's a hard one, I've learnt that survival on the mountain is all about honing your equipment and I feel like I've been working on that for years and think I'm very nearly there. But if I had to choose two I'd say: a 1l Nalgene water bottle mainly so I've got the best possible hot water bottle for taking to bed and a 750ml flask that keeps liquid warm overnight even in the coldest conditions so that I can have tea in bed in the morning and be full hydrated from the start of the day!

🏔 Hardest lesson: that age and experience is an explanation but it's never an excuse! (I'm 49 and only been climbing for four years but I'll no longer let that be my opening gambit - to me or other people!)

🏔 Music or Audiobooks; Shewee or squat; Sunrise or Sunset: Music, at sunrise, even whilst squatting!

🏔 First post-Covid project: - There's no place like home so, as a Brit, that means Scarfell Pike, Snowdon, Ben Nevis here I come! Maybe all three in one go!

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