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Katie-Jane L’Herpiniere - Model turned adventurer, walking the entire length of the Great Wall of...

Katie-Jane L’Herpiniere - Model turned adventurer, walking the entire length of the Great Wall of China in 2007 & doing the longest crossing of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap by a woman.

Katie-Jane L’Herpiniere has a passion for adventure, challenging her limits both physically and mentally, and exploring this wonderful world in which we live.

After university Katie had the opportunity to build a career as a commercial model, on fashion shows for household names such as Marks and Spencer’s, Tony & Guy and Alexander McQueen, photo shoots and a number of Film and TV projects including having body-doubled for Cameron Diaz.

Then in 2005, Katie met polar explorer Tarka L'Herpiniere, and they were quick to find they had little in common. Tarka was less than impressed with her manicured nails and face full of makeup, likewise, Katie did not see Tarka as the ‘all-action hero’ that his accolades suggest, more a really ‘odd’ Frenchman who seemed to find enjoyment in throwing himself into frozen lakes! It wasn’t long before the facades were broken and by 2006 Katie had left behind her life as a model and made the gigantic leap from exhibitionist to expeditionist.

In 2007, after 167 days and 4500km Katie & Tarka, in an incredible feat of determination, became the first recognised people to walk unsupported the entire length of the Great Wall of China, from its western most terminus to its eastern most.

From the completion of this challenge, Katie realised that any feeling of accomplishment, achievement or success is directly proportional to the effort, commitment and hardship put into achieving it.

Having discovered this newfound inner strength, she has since gone on to fill her life with many more adventures. Including; the longest crossing of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap by a woman, cycling across Africa on a vintage African bicycle with no brakes or gears unsupported, raced in the Transcontinental unsupported single stage 4000km bike race across Europe, lived in a floating tent in -50C on the Arctic Ocean, and has nearly lost her life on many numbers of occasions.


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Show notes

  • Living in France in a ski resort

  • Growing up in Devon, spending time outside and riding horses

  • Being lazy by nature

  • Meeting a polar explorer…. Tarka

  • Being invited to walk to the North Pole!

  • Deciding to walk the Great Wall of China!

  • How her confidence evolved

  • Being open to new challenges

  • The conditions over in China

  • Dealing with the 40 degree heat and having to be rescued

  • Not being cut out for the expedition life

  • Dealing with compression of the spine and shrinking by an inch

  • Dealing with the biggest snow storm China had ever seen!

  • Why she kept going, even though she cried every day of the journey

  • What was it like finishing her first massive challenge

  • 2 showers in 6 months….

  • Reflecting back on the journey which was completed over 10 years ago

  • Their relationship while on expedition

  • Starting to plan the next adventure, almost straight away!

  • Being disheartened by adventure, and struggling to make a living from being an adventurer

  • No adventure for 5 years…

  • Discussing money…

  • Living at home with parents to cover the day to day living costs

  • Playing favourites with challenges

  • Why she is happy to say no

  • Heading over to the Patagonia Ice Cap even having a fear of snow & ice…

  • Stopping breathing & dying on the ice

  • Waiting for a weather window to make a crossing, while living on half rations

  • Making a plan to get off the icecap

  • Mental tips and tricks to keep calm and to be resilient

  • Working with a sports psychologist

  • Type 2 fun and not enjoying the experiences while she does them

  • Making the transition to solo adventure

  • Signing up for the Transcontinental Bike Race in Europe

  • What a typical day was like while on the road - riding, eating & tears!

  • When it all went wrong…

  • Recovering from challenges

  • Plans for 2018….The Silk Road Mountain Race (August 18th 2018)

  • Advice for women and girls who want to lead a more adventurous life


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