Jeannette McGill - 1st South African woman to summit Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world.


Jeannette is the 1st South African woman to summit Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world. She is also the first South African to ever attempt Dhaulagiri, 7th highest mountain. She is passionate about leading individuals and teams to achieve things they never thought possible. She consistently achieves this with enthusiasm and empathy.

Jeannette balances a corporate career leading the mining services business for a blue-chip Australian company with her mountaineering pedigree and passion.

Jeannette is a Non-Executive Board member and holds a PhD from the Colorado School of Mines.

Jeannette has been chief instructress for Veld and Vlei, now Outward Bound; a guide for the South African National Parks Board; and the first female leader in 20 years for the Mountain Club of South Africa’s winter camp.

  • 8000m mountaineer - with Manaslu summited, and 1 attempt on Dhaulagiri (first South African ever); my mountaineering goal is 7x 8000m summits, my version of the "7 Summits"

  • The challenges and realities of 8000m are extreme and under anticipated.

  • I've grown up in the mountains organically acquiring knowledge over a lifetime (not coming to this via a milestone birthday or event as many others have)

  • But did get to over 100kg and went from a couch back to 8000m - which took 5 years from decision to attempt 1 and eventual summit.

  • I know about goal setting and resilience and how to navigate a career (one of a few women in underground mining production at the start of my career) and a time consuming interest.

  • As the Mountain Mentor I can fast track the learning curve for people, saving time not making mistakes or being the best prepared for a mountain adventure: be it Kili, Inca Trail, Island Peak or Everest

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Show notes

  • Being based in Melbourne

  • Growing up in South Africa

  • Getting into mountaineering

  • Going out with the Mountain Club of South Africa

  • Climbing her first mountain at 8 years old - Lion’s Head

  • Her dreams as a little girl

  • Loving the outdoors and enjoying spending time in nature

  • Wanting to work in nature and conservation

  • Wanting to climb the big mountains around the world, over 8,000 m

  • Lack of female role models in the 80s and 90s

  • Not knowing it was practically possible to climb these mountains

  • Making big changes to her life in 2013

  • The realities of climbing 8,000 m mountains

  • Being overwhelmed and confused at the start

  • Making around a start by walking around the block

  • Getting over the mental hurdle

  • Starting with something very easy

  • Not having an expectations

  • What it’s like being at altitude

  • Climbing her first 6,000 m peak in Peru

  • What’s going on mentally while climbing mountains

  • Mental resilience and mental grit

  • How mountaineering has changed over the years

  • Wanting to climb Manaslu Mountain in Nepal (eighth-highest mountain in the world at 8,163 metres)

  • The biggest challenge of climbing Manaslu

  • Dealing with queues on the mountains

  • Handing the frustration of being stuck in the mountains

  • Being mindful of where you are

  • Cold management and oxygen management

  • Practical information regarding summiting Manaslu

  • Wanting to climb 7 - 8,000 metre peaks

  • Next mountain to climb - Dhaulagiri in Nepal

  • Practical information regarding climbing Dhaulagiri

  • Magical Moment in the mountains!

  • Mountain leadership and mentoring

  • Final words of advice to motivate and inspire you to step outside your comfort zone

Social Media

Website - www.mcgillsmountains.com Instagram - @mcgills_mountains

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