‘Our own mind is our biggest obstacle to living and achieving our wildest aspirations’ Karen Darke

When I’m not outside climbing, biking or running most of my time is taken up by either preparing for adventures or searching for inspiration. I can not tell you how many blog posts and videos have helped my push myself or discover that little bit more I didn’t know I could give. So today I wanted to share a little piece on my most recent source of inspiration.

I’m not quite sure how I came across Karen Darke’s blog (I think it was Twitter) – but this women is amazing!  A climber, adventure and paralympian, Karen is currently a full-time athlete with the British Para-Cycling Team, training for the 2016 Paralympics.

When she’s not training she has fitted in some pretty awesome adventures such as sit-skiing across Greenland, climbing El Capitan and handbiking from Tibet to Nepal to name but a few!

Karen-Darke-1

Then as if she was not busy enough training Karen is also the Founder of Inspire & Impact, and works as a speaker, coach and facilitator! She uses her powerful personal experiences to create positive impact in the lives, health and work of others.

“Someone once said to me, ‘Disability is a state of mind not a state of body.’ That’s a notion that relates to us all, regardless of whether we have a physical disability or not. Our own mind is our biggest obstacle to living and achieving our wildest aspirations. What is life if it isn’t an adventure? I’m constantly amazed by what can be achieved if we set our heart and mind to it. It’s all about finding belief, confidence, motivation and commitment. And of course, friends. Then there are no limits.”

Karen Darke

So if you are looking for some mid week inspiration check out Karen’s website, it’s definitely worth a read, I can’t stress enough how awesome this women is!

Fernanda Maciel runs up and down the highest peak in America in under 24 hours!

Yesterday I came across this awesome article on Redbull written by Ben Johnson about Fernanda Maciel the first woman to run up and down the highest peak in America in under 24 hours.

At 6,691m high, Aconcagua is incredibly steep covered in snow and ice, as well as that, at that hight Fernanda was also having to battle far thinner air and altitude sickness – no easy task! What makes this story amazing for me is Maciel’s determination and perseverance – her first two attempts failed (read more about that here) but she kept going and set record on what was her third attempt.

For the full story and more pictures click here!

Strong is the New Pretty, Kate T Parker Photography

Kate T Parker has produced a powerful set of photos of her daughters, titled ‘Strong is the New Pretty.’

“I wanted this series of images to show their boldness, their strength, and the beauty in them, as they are…”

Strong is the new pretty, the book, will be published by Workman Publishing spring 2017. Meanwhile you can see more photos from the series at Kate’s blog, and follow her on Twitter @ktparkerphoto.

National Geographic Adventure: 2016 Adventurer of the Year Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita

An amazing and very inspiring article written by Mary Anne Potts about National Geographic’s 2016 Adventurer of the Year – Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita.

Pasang grew up in Lukla, Nepal, in the shadow of Everest. By the time she was 15, she’d lost both her parents and was left to care for her six-year-old sister. Still, she made her way up the world’s tallest peaks (K2 and Everest, to name a few) and has continued to work tirelessly to serve the disadvantaged in the aftermath of the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

Read the full story and interview with Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita on National Geographic.

Coxless Crew: The First all female team to row the Pacific Ocean

Check out these four incredible women who are aiming to set the world record for not only being the first all female team to row the Pacific Ocean, but also the first ever fours boat to row the Pacific Ocean. And if that wasn’t enough they are also aiming to be the fastest ever Pacific Ocean row!

In this epic challenge they are aiming to raise over a quarter of a million pounds for 2 charities, to support those who show true resilience; Walking With the Wounded and Breast Cancer Care survivors.

The money they raise for Walking With the Wounded will be setting up the first ever fund for injured servicewomen and supporting their re-education and re-training pathway to create a new journey and focus for them after injury.

Then the money raised for Breast Cancer Care will continue to support the carers and services that BCC provide to those fighting breast cancer and their families.

For more on their amazing journey and to follow their progress visit their website!

Just a Little Run Around the World

October 2015 I went to an evening hosted by Jagged Globe, amongst a series of great talks I was most looking forward to hearing Rosie Swale Pope speak. As soon as she started talking I was transfixed by her stories, something really struck a chord with me. I found, especially as a runner, I could relate to so much of what she was saying. I came out of that talk totally fired up and felt ready to take on any adventure that was thrown at me, and more!

I also instantly purchased Rosie’s book – Just a Little Run Around the World. This follows one of her most notably stories – a 5 year solo run of 20,000 miles around the world, to raise money in memory of her late husband.

From being followed by wolves to trekking across Alaska, and having to survive in temperatures of -62 degrees C. Rosie was knocked down by a bus and confronted by bears – I couldn’t take my eyes off the pages of this book. But don’t worry I haven’t told you all that happens there are plenty more epic moments! I can whole heartedly recommend this book to both runners and non-runners – I think anyone with a spirt of adventure will find this a fantastic read.

Available from Amazon.

Sasha DiGiulian joins Youtube

Sasha DiGiulian is a professional rock climber. She has completed ground breaking multipitch and big wall routes, led one of the hardest sport routes ever climbed by a woman (9a/5.14d), and achieved numerous first female ascents around the world.

She is also an Ambassador for the Women’s Sports Foundation and a published writer, so generally all round inspiring! Sasha has launched a YouTube channel so that we can get a behind-the-lens look at her climbing adventures across the world.

Inspiring books by Women in Adventure

If you are feeling the need to be more adventurous, books are a great way to feed your imagination. You don’t have to be planning to summit Everest, trek across the Himalaya, or solo the north face of the Eiger to be inspired by these women and their adventurous approach to life…

Catherine Destivelle, Rock Queen (2015) (First published as Ascensions, 2013): Catherine Destivelle is one of the world’s most accomplished rock climbers and alpinists, making world-leading solo winter ascents of the Eiger, the Matterhorn, and the Grand Jurasses. Her book tells how she discovered a love for the mountains as a young girl, developing her talents through bouldering, rock climbing, and eventually solo winter climbing.

A career as a professional climber presents its own challenges for a naturally introverted character. Balancing the demands of sponsors and pressure to be publicised against her own instincts, and faced with decisions about whether to enter high profile competitions or attempt hard new routes, Catherine learned to follow her passion and do what she loves to do.

Cathy O’Dowd,  Just For the Love of It (Dec 13): This is Cathy O’Dowd’s story of how she became the first South African to reach the summit of Everest and the first woman to reach it from both sides. It includes absolutely gripping descriptions of alpine climbing, especially the summit attempts. Confronting the costs as well as the rewards, it gives a vivid description of the harsh reality of life at the absolute limits of human endurance and beyond.

It can feel hard to understand the motives of individuals that choose these tough experiences, but Cathy absolutely captures the atmosphere and landscape of expeditions in the Himalaya. With descriptions creating images as clear as pictures, there is no doubt that as the title says, she does it for the love of it.

Gerda Maria PaulerGreat Himalaya Trail: 1,700 Kilometers Across the Roof of the World (Oct 13): This book is about Gerda Pauler’s hike of the Great Himalaya Trail, 1,700 kilometers on foot across Nepal to raise awareness for the charity Autism Care Nepal. Despite her humorous descriptions of the journey, this is a serious undertaking requiring stregth of character and positive thinking. Crossing many high passes, some at altitudes of over 6,100m, every extreme of weather is encountered as well as the dangers of route finding, rockfall, and avalanche.

Taking four months to complete her adventure, Gerda is immersed in the local culture. Having visited the area over a period of 25 years she records her keen observations of the people she meets along the way, in particular the children and women. Changes are occuring, and there is a fine balance in delivering improvements in education and infrastructure that come with tourism and economic development while preserving the unique cultures and traditions of Nepal.