My first memories involve spending long days outside exploring the woods and cornfields around my childhood home with my dog and Sister. These explorations were all at sea level as the highest point in my home state of Illinois is 1,235 feet. Gradually my explorations led me to Seattle where the allure of Mt. Rainier drew me to the mountains. After standing on its summit in 2009, I knew that mountaineering would become a significant part of my life. I am still drawn to the physical and mental challenge of mountaineering and I relish the sense of accomplishment that comes with a successful climb, even if it doesn't include the summit.
In the mountains I learned resilience, and self reliance, and built my confidence as a climber and as a woman. My strength, and confidence were tested when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. Through treatments and surgeries I drew upon the things that I had learned as a climber - to focus on what I could control, to surround myself with a strong team, and to keep moving forward even when things felt bleak. While I was fighting cancer, the mountains took on a broader meaning for me as I also found tremendous healing there.
Beating cancer provoked me to evaluate the trajectory of my life, and in 2016 I made the excruciating and terrifying decision to put my secure, hard-earned corporate career on hold in order to pursue other passions.
Today, I am grateful to enjoy a life of mountain climbing, writing and speaking. I am inspired by sharing with others the story of how climbing gave me the strength to beat cancer.
See Lisa in Capturing Everest, an immersive virtual reality documentary that debuted in May 2017.