About a month ago, I put out a public message saying I was looking for women to join me on an all female expedition to climb the equivalent height of Everest over 5 days in the Lake District. Here’s what my insecurities told me; the challenge wasn’t good enough, no one was interested in joining me, no one is going to apply. What actually happened? In little over a week, I received over 100 applications, along with dozens of messages from women saying they couldn’t make the date but so wanted to do it and wished me all the best. Wow!

The task of selecting

I read every single one of those applications, twice. There were some incredible stories in there of horrible times overcome. Along with inspiration of everyday women raising children, supporting their families, helping others in need, running businesses and generally just being amazing.

I enlisted the help of 2 others to shortlist 12. I wanted the team to represent women from all walks of life. We looked for applicants that showed an excitement for the project with fresh ideas, a willingness to train and help others in the process and also something that they could bring to the team, be it a skill or a sense of humour.

It was so much harder than I anticipated

I then spent an agonising day looking at the shortlisted applications and trying to put together a team. Here’s me my sister and nephew (he played a vital role), working on an x-factor style set up…

all female expedition

It was so much harder than I ever imagined and was like a jigsaw puzzle, balancing out personality types and abilities. It was a horrible task letting so many down….I’ve felt that rejection before. Rejection can be a great thing though and, ironically, it was being let down that ultimately led me to put this expedition together!

The final team

I have my final team of 6, ready to take on the Everest Adventure. Please do show your support by signing up for a monthly update or following our journey on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook where I will be posting regular updates on training and progress. If you aren’t already in our women’s adventurer Love Her Wild facebook group…join now!

We will all be meeting for the first time at the beginning of June for a mini adventure and a chance to get to know each other and I will let you know how that goes. For now though, meet the team….

Kate
Kate27, Cardiff
For a day job I am a television producer. I work freelance and make documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery – anyone who wants to tell a great story. I live a pretty stripped back life; last summer I decided to get rid of most of our possessions and move onto a tiny boat with my husband. It feels great to be unburdened by ‘stuff’ and it might sound silly but to feel elemental – to know what it is to ‘batten down the hatches’ during a winter storm or like how to feel completely energised by the coming of spring.

I signed up for this because I wanted a challenge. I am very much part of our local ‘outdoor’ scene and surrounded by people who are constantly doing amazing things and pushing it and there is a lot of pressure to match it..to climb hard or run fast. Whilst I love my friends for pushing me, I am often left feeling inadequate and just not good enough.

So this challenge is my response to those feelings, to get more confidence and to convince myself (not others) that I can be good enough.

Becki
Becki49, East Sussex
I live near Tunbridge Wells and I’m a soon-to-be-50 year old whose life has recently been turned upside down by the leaving home of both my children. It’s hit me much harder than I expected and I have found myself feeling directionless and unsure of my own identity.

In January, I signed up to walk 1000 miles in a year as a way of getting myself out of the house and having something to focus on.  I then saw an advert for a 48 hour 100km walk, from London to Brighton, and for some reason I thought this would be a good thing to do. I’m currently training for this and beginning to wonder what I’ve got myself in to!

I then saw an advert for the Everest challenge and something just clicked – this seemed like a fantastic opportunity to really find out what I’m made of and to have a proper, out-of-my-comfort-zone adventure. So, I applied and here I am – slightly scared, excited and suddenly wondering what else I’m capable of.

Naomi
Naomi39, Bristol
Im an outdoors loving veggiesaurus from Norfolk who emigrated to London to find adventure in the 90’s and never really went back home. I gave uni my best shot, got all the ticks in all the right places but what I really learned there was that the office life was not for me. 16 years later and I am still working in the same mostly ‘non-office’ job as an LFB firefighter but now it’s not just me who loves the weekend adventures, I also have my 3 kids to join in with me too.

I am a single mum but it doesn’t really feel like that, we feel like a team of friends who love doing the same stuff together and since they are now old enough to strike a flint and build a den we are getting out and about more and more…. in fact my kids are my main motivation in life. I want to inspire them (and all kids really) that sitting about ‘on bums’ is not cool and that real life is OUT THERE not inside, we need to chase our dreams and find our ambition, for not only ourselves but for others too.

This feeling is why I applied for this challenge because if I can show my own children that I am going to always strive for my goals and never give up then maybe they might do the same! As a part of the Everest Team I will aim to be just that…. a part of a team. I am so excited to meet all my fellow team mates and get to go on this incredible journey together with such amazingly talented and strong capable women…. I feel incredibly humbled and proud, not to mention super excited to get started! Cant WAIT!! :)”

Nichole
Nichole31, New Jersey
I live outside of New York City in Morristown, NJ with my wonderful husband, Skylar. I started hiking and backpacking only as recently as 2013, but quickly fell in love.

I began looking for the biggest backpacking challenge I could find. In 2016 I thru-hiked the 2,189 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, finishing in just under 5 months.

Summer 2017 will see me tackling the “Mini Triple Crown”: the Long Trail, Colorado Trail, and John Muir Trail, for another 1,000 miles of gorgeous solo backpacking.

When not living the simple dirtbag life, I work at a glass art studio teaching classes and creating my own pieces for craft shows. I also teach and practice yoga, dabble in running, drink large cups of coffee, and join my husband in the kitchen to cook lots of delicious vegan food.

I’m thrilled to be joining the Everest Challenge and teaming up with such amazing women. I truly believe more girls and women should be encouraged to go out into the wild without fear, and recently launched my website, do-anything.com, where I serve as the Chief Inspiration Officer.

Seanna
Seanna30, London
I work full time for an international medical NGO in the fundraising team and am so passionate about my job.

Outside of that, I dabble in different interests, from boxing, yoga and running to Spanish lessons, DIY and theatre. However, my real obsessions are anything to do with travel, adventure, nature and the outdoors. Hiking is my favourite pastime in the world, and I’m part of a little walking group called the Edward Thomas Appreciation Society with my friends.

I’m a vegan who drinks far too much coffee. I believe AFC Wimbledon are the greatest football team on the planet, Harry Potter makes me happy (I have a tattoo to prove it) and I met my hamster, Ginger Nut, on Tinder.

The Everest Challenge is such an exciting opportunity. It also scares me, which can only be seen as a good thing as getting out of my comfort zone will help me to grow.

After some really tough times with my mental health, I want to prove to myself that I’m back on track and am showing the world the strength and determination of women. I’m ready to conquer those 8,840 metres!

Bex (Team Leader)
Bex (Team Leader)28, Aldershot
Having experience first hand how life changing adventuring can be, I am passionate about sharing this with others. Especially with those who feel they aren’t quite good enough or that it is somehow out of reach…because that used to be me!

I’ve always liked the idea of being part of an all-female expedition. As the outdoor industry remains very male dominant, there is something quite empowering being with other like-minded women, all working in a supportive environment to reach our goal.

I can’t wait to get to know every member of the team. This is a great personal challenge for me, balancing managing a team while also keeping on top of training.