Ain’t No Mountain High Enough? Kit DesLauriers Scales the Seven Summits

Amanda Sullivan, Emma Leibman, Staff Writers
October 26, 2011
Filed under Headlines

Kit Deslauriers, the world-renowned champion American free-style skier, visited Westtown School on Friday, October 14, to give a Shoemaker lecture on her Seven Summits project. Born inAlbany, NY, she developed an interest in skiing at an early age, although she didn’t begin to downhill ski until she was 14 years old. Kit was standing atop a peak in Sikkim, India in her early twenties when she first decided that she wanted to devote her life to ski mountaineering. She is the first person to ski down all Seven Summits – the highest points on each of the seven continents. We were lucky enough to attend her presentation, and afterward we spent some time talking to her about her experiences and endeavors – both on and off the slopes.

 During our Q & A session with Kit, we learned quite a lot about her accomplishments and her outlook on life. When we asked her about her Seven Summits Project, we learned that it took about two years to complete, starting in May 2004 and ending in October 2006. She started the project by climbing Mt.McKinley (Denali, as it is also known) and finished it by skiing down Mt. Everest. Out of all Seven Summits, she most enjoyed skiing the north side of Mt. Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak which is located in Russia.

 Kit told us that although it depends on the severity of the weather and difficulty of the climb, it usually takes at least 1-3 months of preparation to get ready for an ascent. Her least favorite part of any trip is the anticipation of climbing up the mountain and not knowing what to expect, but her favorite part has been learning to look forward to the unknown. The amount of technology that Kit and her crew carry with them varies depending on the particular climb and the special needs of the group members.

 We asked Kit DesLauriers what her biggest challenge has been so far. She said, “Staying mentally detached from the outcome,” she said, although Kit believes a climb is only successful if the whole crew makes it back without any life-threatening setbacks. Kit cannot focus just on the descent back down the mountain; she must also focus on staying in the moment.

 When we asked her why she does what she does, Kit thought about it for a minute and responded, “It’s my form of traveling and interacting with the world.” Kit DesLauriers has experiences that not everyone can relate to, but she tries her best to share them with the world in her lecture-presentations on behalf of the North Face Speaker Series. What Kit hopes to teach people, and what she hopes we learned from her lecture, is that “…everything in life doesn’t have to be serious.”

 

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