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Jessica Hepburn - Adventure Activist - Her journey to climbing Mt. Everest

Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Jessica’s ‘adventure activism’ is, by her own admission, a bit of an accident as she hates exercise and considers herself to be the most unlikely athlete.

However, over the last decade she has been taking on some of the world’s most iconic physical and mental endurance challenges to turn the sadness she’s been through into something positive and at the same time raise awareness of what it means to struggle to conceive and to encourage new ways of thinking about family.

She has run the London Marathon; swum the English Channel; and is still on her journey to climb Mount Everest and complete the iconic ‘Pond to Peak’ Challenge.

She is a member of the British Mountaineering Council; The Ramblers; The Long Distance Walkers Association; and the Serpentine, Hampstead Ponds and Dover Open Water Swimming Clubs; and has used her sporting challenges to raise thousands of pounds for charity including Fertility Network UK.

We first spoke to Jessica in Oct 2018 - you can listen to that episode here.

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Show notes

  • Who is Jessica

  • How she would describe herself and what she does

  • Dealing with a decade long struggle on trying to conceive

  • Wanting to do something different with her life

  • Completing her childhood dream of swimming the English Channel

  • Being an adventure activist

  • Wanting to be the first women to complete the “Pond to Peak” Challenge

  • What Jessica was up to in 2019

  • Making a change in her career and setting up her own arts’ festival

  • Her dream of heading to Everest in 2020

  • Climbing Mt. Elbrus and having a tough time

  • Swimming to get fit for climbing mountains

  • Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2015/2016

  • Why the Everest journey has been so hard

  • Being an unlikely mountaineer and athlete

  • When things don’t go according to plan

  • Having to learn from failure

  • Does swim training translate to walking in the mountains?

  • The benefits of cold water and why she does it regularly

  • Not being fast enough on the mountains

  • Needing to get into strength training and build muscle

  • Heading to the peak district and the Lake District

  • Training with the Elite Ramblers in the UK

  • Dealing with the first lockdown in 2020

  • Being able to stop, slow down and relax

  • Finding the blessings

  • How lockdown impacted on motivation for training and keeping fit

  • The different types of adventures

  • Why adventure has become such an important part of her life

  • Getting the confirmation that Everest was going to go ahead in 2021

  • Getting to base camp and feeling prepared

  • How everyone has an opinion on Everest

  • Why her expedition was a non summit

  • Dealing with cyclones at camp 2

  • Cyclones, Chest Infections and Covid

  • Making a rookie mistake

  • Why you need a buff!!!

  • Making the decision to turn back…

  • Acceptance and coming to peace

  • Why climbing mountains have become so meaningful

  • Making it a battle - a battle with nature

  • Wanting to go back in the future

  • Turning 50 at the end of 2020

  • How to follow along with Jessica and her future adventures

  • Final words of advice to motivate and inspire more women to take their next steps into the world of adventure


Social Media

Instagram: @jessica_hepburn_

Twitter: @JessicaPursuit


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You can listen to our previous conversations with Jessica below.

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