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Jessica Hepburn - Unlikely Everest Summiteer. Inspiring people to #livebigandbrave when life doesn’t go to plan. Author of Save me from the Waves.

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 Hepburn is an unlikely athlete. She hates exercise and believes the only reason to do it is for food, booze and box-sets on the sofa. 

However, in her forties, following a succession of hard life experiences, she started to try and exercise her way out of heartbreak. She has now become one of the world’s most extraordinary endurance athletes. 

The first and only woman on the planet to have completed the “Sea, Street, Summit Challenge” – which is to swim the English Channel, run the London Marathon and climb Mount Everest. And possibly the only woman to have listened to eighty years and over 3,000 episodes of her favourite radio programme – Desert Island Discs.

Jessica joins us for the 3rd time on the Tough Girl Podcast, to share more about her new book. “Save me from the Waves”. Which shares more about her inspirational story of physical and mental endurance which starts on the streets of London and culminates in a life-threatening event on top of the world. During the podcast, Jessica share more about the challenges on the mountain, the lesson learns and provides advice and tips to encourage you to live big and bravely especially when life doesn’t go to plan.

Previous TGP episodes with Jessica.


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Show notes

  • Who is Jessica

  • Being an author

  • Working in the arts

  • Going through multiple rounds of IVF

  • Experiencing multiple miscarriages

  • Describing herself as an adventure activist

  • Swimming the English Channel

  • Her journey climbing Mount Everest

  • Completing final training for Mount Everest

  • Climbing Kilimanjaro immediately after the channel swim

  • Realising the importance of mental and physical strength

  • Realising she's not fit and fast enough

  • Climbing massive mountains in her 50s is a significant challenge

  • Discussing pushback when climbing Everest and feeling defensive

  • Recounting a conversation with a stranger

  • Limited window for climbing Mount Everest due to weather conditions

  • Climbing to the top of the world while listening to her favorite radio program

  • The reason why she writes her books

  • Why she wouldn't change anything even after everything that has happened to her

  • Feeling stronger and more confident on her second attempt to climb Everest

  • Finding the Khumbu Icefall challenging

  • Finding the summiting experience to be terrifying

  • Not feeling the expected emotions on the summit

  • Feeling exhausted and sick during the summit

  • Having endurance and mental strength on the mountain

  • Getting hit by a free-falling oxygen bottle, breaking her leg

  • Sharing the details of what happened to her in her book

  • Sharing her experiences with IVF and climbing Everest, hoping to provide solidarity and a survival guide for others

  • What helped her process her thoughts and emotions during her fertility journey

  • Creating playlists for various occasions and people in her life

  • Composing a playlist for the child she never had

  • Final words of advice


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