Each summer when I venture out to the Bobbie Burns and Bugaboo Lodges I'm struck by the passion and commitment of all the guides and other team members making guests experiences exceptional. We're sending one of those such guides, Kellie Erwin back to her home state of Colorado for an event with our good friends at Outdoor Divas in their store in Cherry Creek on April 21. Kellie will be speaking about her life as a mountain guide, filmmaker and Everest Summiteer.
Marketing Diva Marily MacDonald chatted with Kellie last week and after reading the post on the Outdoor Diva's blog I learned a few things about Kellie myself. With Marily's permission, I am re-posting that interview here. To view the original please see the Outdoor Diva's Blog.Kellie Erwin; a women who tops it all!
Everest Conquer will speak at outdoor DIVAS on April 21st
OD: How did you first decide that you wanted to climb Mount Everest?
KELLIE: I saw a slide show when I was 14 years old about a Himalayan climber and it inspired me to dream big and I thought to myself, I want to climb in the Himalaya's one day.
In 1979 I started working for Colorado Outward Bound where I met Peter Athens, and in 1987 he asked me to join the first American women's Everest expedition.
OD: What was the hardest part of your preparation for the journey to Everest’s summit?
KELLIE: Well, I had 20 years of preparation you could say in preparation for the summit. It took four attempts, over a 20 year period to actually summit the top. The hardest part is the unknown and the altitude; those are two things that no matter how prepared you are, you are always going to have to deal with. In 1987 I made my first attempt and in 1999 I was successful in reaching the So. Summit.
OD: What was the best thing about growing up in Aspen and how has that helped prepare you for the adventures you’ve lived?
KELLIE: No doubt about it, it was being “IN” the mountains! I am so thankful that I was immersed in the mountain way of life as a child. I feel your surroundings really affect how you see the world and the mountains are so unknown and ever changing that I think it really gives you great insight into the world around you. Passion for mountains is in my heart and I feel it helped me reach my goals.
OD: What has been your most challenging accomplishment on and off the mountains?
KELLIE: I am a Cancer survivor (early 90’s diagnosed) and that process was a huge reality check. It really put life into perspective and made me reevaluate my life--- I would say the mountains are in my heart but they are not what define me.
OD: What is the one piece of advice you wish you’d had that you would give to women looking to get into these kinds of endeavors?
KELLIE: Get educated! You can go anywhere with a great foundation---get FULL guide certifications if you are serious about guiding or whatever you are getting into. Give it your all.
OD: Are you more outdoor or DIVA--or a bit of both?
KELLIE: I am a bit of both, I like being a woman and embrace my femininity, yet I am an outdoor lover of course. I love that I can be both.
OD: Do any hilarious stories come to mind when asked what has been the funniest thing to happen to you while on a hike/adventure?
KELLIE: Bathroom issues are always a bit funny, especially when you are in a tent, high on a mountain, with strong winds and you can’t get out to do your business. One time my aim was rather off as I was attempting to fill a wide mouthed water bottle, and well, some ended up in my sleeping bag. Whelp - you just have to deal with those sort of moments, I mean it was just pee. You can’t stress about the silly stuff—ultimately that’s what makes great memories.
Will you be in the Denver area April 21? If so, be sure to RSVP with Outdoor Divas for this inspiring event! See you there!