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  • Jeannette McGill

Mountaineering Moments #9 . . . Squash Falconer

Leading up to my first Himalayan trip in 2011 I started following a few of the female Everest climbers (considerably fewer around 9 years ago!). One of interest was Squash Falconer. With a daily fresh pair of knickers she was aiming to paraglide from the Everest summit. Then, during my own Everest Base Camp trek in 2011 we were fortunate to go into EBC proper and enjoy some tea with Dan Mazur’s Summit Climb team members that weren’t on rotation. This is how I first met Squash. She was friendly and super accommodating to talk to a few of us random trekkers.

Squash did summit and she did attempt to paraglide from the South Col but the winds did not play along. She travelled to Johannesburg a few years later and it was great to reconnect at the FEAT event she spoke at, and the power of social media still keeps us connected . . .

Squash is a record-breaking adventurer, speaker and presenter. It doesn’t matter if it’s big mountains, paragliding, elliptigo-ing, BMW biking or skiing near her home in Tynes, Squash has done it all with exceptional enthusiasm. Now the proud mother to Kit I know she can’t wait to expand Kit’s adventure horizons as well.

I am motivated by a blog post of Squash’s from last year where she shares what girl power means to her:

• Knowing that we have a value, that we matter and can make a difference. • Being confident to follow our dreams and passions, be they physical, academic, musical… whatever they are! • Supporting each other and leading by example. • Being confident to speak out about what we believe in and knowing that our voice is important. • Feeling happy in our skin. • Being aware, being accountable and taking action. • Growing a whole new person and bringing them into the world! • Then being there. Nurturing them while they grow; teaching, supporting and loving them. • Loving men too! Understanding that while we are different, we are all equals.

Favourite mountain expedition: this is so hard to answer because there’s a few - for different reasons... !!! But, if I have to give one right now it would be Mt Blanc. It was the culmination of 3 dreams; to ride a motorcycle to the south of France, to climb Mt Blanc & to paraglide from a high mountain. I did it with an amazing friend, Irwyn Jehu. We had such a great trip. We didn’t summit until the 3rd attempt & afterwards I found out I was the 1st British woman to paraglide from the summit, which was the icing on the cake to an already wonderful experience.

Top 2 gear must haves: Something luxurious! That might be some kind of food or a favourite clothing. Basically something that makes you feel good. I have a theory that if your knickers are right, your day goes right. So I always take my favourite underwear. And then Gaffa tape. It fixes everything!

Hardest Lesson: People die. It’s not a game, it’s real life with real consequences. Making good decisions is crucial.

Music or Audiobooks: Hmmm before it was music now I’d say audiobooks.

Shewee or Squat: Squat.

Sunrise or Sunset: Sunrise.

First post-Covid project: A UK adventure with my beautiful daughter Kit, who’s just started walking! So might not be anything too extreme!

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