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Allie Pepper to climb 14 of the worlds 8000m peaks without additional oxygen, in the world’s fastest time.

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Allie Pepper is an Australian mountaineer who believes the biggest challenges offer the greatest rewards. She has reached the summits of Mount Everest and also one of the world’s most dangerous mountains, Annapurna 1. She has now set what seems like and impossible task to climb to the true summits of all 14 of the worlds 8000m peaks without additional oxygen, in the world’s fastest time. We caught up with her to find out what makes her tick and what is behind the challenge.

Hi Allie, tell us about yourself?

I am a 47-year-old mountaineer from the Blue Mountains of Australia. I discovered climbing in 1999 when I signed up to an Outdoor Recreation course at a local college. I grew up in Australia’s largest climbing area but had never rock climbed until then. With a low self-esteem and no clear direction in my life at the time I found a career that I enjoyed, and I was naturally good at.

At the start of 2000, I joined a technical mountaineering course in New Zealand. That course changed my life as I finally found my passion. Later that year I finished my Outdoor Leadership Certificate. I then worked as an assistant guide on an expedition to Aconcagua in Argentina. It was the first time I had the taste of high altitude mountaineering, and I was addicted. I discovered that I was physically strong in the thin air and had the ability to look after others, not just myself.

My mountaineering journey took me from the Southern Alps of New Zealand to the Andes of South America. After 3 seasons of climbing and guiding in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru, I decided I was ready to climb an 8000m mountain. In 2007 I went to Cho Oyu, in Tibet. My climbing partner suffered frost-nip on his toes during our acclimatisation phase on the mountain. He stayed at the Base Camp while I headed to the summit alone – which I managed to achieve without the use of additional oxygen.

At the time I had dreams to scale all 14 of the 8000m mountains however, I did not have the financial means to do so. I chose Everest to climb next because I believed if I summited Everest, it might satisfy me enough that I would not need to climb anymore 8000ers. It took me 3 years to save up for that goal. In that time, I did not go to altitude or even put on a pair of crampons. My dream was to summit without additional oxygen however I was too slow on the mountain from my time spent at low altitude. I spent so long saving up for the expedition, I didn’t want to waste my time and money. I made the summit using bottled oxygen and did not fulfil my entire goal. This only made me hunger more for thin air.

I have been on six expeditions to 8000m peaks since I summited Everest in 2011. Most recently I climbed Annapurna 1 in April. After climbing Annapurna, I realised that high altitude is where my spirit is truly free, and I am exactly where I am meant to be. I feel I am at home in the mountains, and I am my true self. I am at a time in my life where I can give full commitment to my passion. I now have the desire and motivation to fulfil my dream and ambition which started in 2007 after my Cho Oyu expedition.

I aim to summit all 14 peaks without the use of additional oxygen. I have been training physically, mentally, and spiritually for this project for years now. I have learned from my successes, and I have learned from my failures. Most importantly I have been honest with myself, and I know that I cannot reach my full potential in my sport without giving this a go.

Whilst on the journey to complete my project, I aim to inspire others that they can dream big too and they are capable of more than they know. It’s never too late in life to follow your passion and achieve big things. The biggest challenges offer the greatest rewards.

Where are you now based?

Hazelbrook NSW

 

What is the pull of climbing?

It is my passion.

What do you get, what do you give up with climbing?

A life fulfilled. Nothing.

Let’s talk about this statement.

“My project is to scale all 14 of the world’s highest peaks without the use of supplemental oxygen.” to the TRUE summits, in the world’s fastest time.

Why? When? How?

My goal is to complete the summits of all 14 peaks over the next two and half years. Whilst on the journey to complete my project, I aim to inspire people of all ages and walks of life that they are capable of more. It is never too late to dream big and take steps towards our highest version of ourselves. We don’t know what our true potential is until we break out of our comfort zone.

Have you given yourself a time frame?

By the end of May 2023

What’s the biggest challenge?

The funding of the project as well as the documentary.

What’s the biggest fear?

I have trained my mindset to be fearless. I don’t think into the future with fear, and I try to stay in the now.

 

 

Explain the difference to the dumb, the difference between with and without oxygen.

The easiest way I can explain is to talk about the difference when I started to use it on Annapurna last year at 7800m. I went from being frozen to my core, taking two steps and stopping to rest and speaking one word at a time. To; talking in full sentences, so warm I had to take off my mitts and a layer from under my down suit. I swapped my mitts for gloves and was able to walk at a constant pace without stopping. Basically, three times the speed as beforehand. I could easily make decisions and was way more coherent than without it. I felt like I was back at Base Camp in terms of the altitude.

 

How does the ‘GoFundMe me’ page work?

I have a GoFundMe for my project costs and one for the charity I support The Juniper Fund.

 

Few more simple questions – maybe not

 

How would someone who knows you well describe you?

Always positive and very motivated.

What do you think your biggest attribute is, what is your worst?

Wanting to expand my awareness and grow in myself. I like to focus on the positives so I am not going say ‘my worst’ as you are what you speak.

If someone told you that they were thinking of doing what you hope to do – what would you say?

Enjoy the journey! How can I help you? Can we do this together?

Who are your sponsors helping you with this challenge?

Petzl

Himali

Backcountry Cuisine

Seven Summits Treks

Global Rescue

www.alliepepper.com

www.instagram.com/alliepepperadventures

 

 

 

 

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