Mountaineer Melissa Arnot is the ultimate rock star – literally.
At 30 years old, she’s already climbed to the top of Mount Everest five times and scaled impossible heights on mountains worldwide. She’s the first non-Sherpa woman to ever accomplish such a feat.
Next week, she leaves for another 65 day journey to try and summit Everest twice – accomplishing her sixth and seventh summit.
Healthy Hollywood got a chance to meet the very calm & cool climber recently in New York City. I learned a lot about the climbing world, the life-challenging dangers of the notoriously treacherous weather and the extreme high of making it to the highest point on earth.
“People ask me a lot about reaching the summit and the gratification I must feel reaching the top. But, the expedition to the top of Everest takes 65 days and so if you’re looking for that one moment or hour you spend on top of the world that’s a lot of time to put into one moment. Climbing Everest teaches me a better appreciation for all the moments in between, even when they’re very uncomfortable. But need to find some sights ahead and appreciate the flow you’re in,” Melissa explains to Healthy Hollywood.
High altitude climbers need both mental and physical strength. And, Melissa describes herself as very ordinary and not an exceptional athlete. “I’m very motivated by challenging my own personal self physically. I want to know what my limits are. I want to try harder, be faster and I want to have more endurance and just be able to explore that in life. I have to work extraordinarily hard to meet the level of my peers in this sport and I love the hard work. It is so gratifying to know that I can start out with a base that’s so average and reach these high levels,” adds Arnot.
This passionate adventurer began training for her upcoming climb in January. She lives near a ski resort in Idaho and does a lot of training outdoors. “Because I feel so average physically, I have to put myself through these rigorous fitness preparations, even probably more than I need. But, I want to prepared for the worst case scenario, which would is 12 hour day turning into a 30 hour event. It starts out with hiking. I put on my spikes and walk up 3000 foot hill every morning at five and I carry a 50 pound back pack and increase it to 65 pounds. Then, I go to the gym and I do sprinting work outs and lifting,” reveals Melissa.
Melissa, also, does marathon training, which helps her with endurance and the mental aspect. “I hate running. It takes every mental iota I can muster to go running and I get very little joy out of it. But, the fact I choose to do it, even though I don’t like it makes me mentally stronger. So, when I have those moments on the mountain, that are uncomfortable and I just want to be done, I can go back in my file and remember when I was on that 15-mile run and it was raining and I did it anyway.”
“One of the greatest challenges is keeping your motivation for the summit high for 65 days. If you think about it, you’re there for two and half months and go through lots of ebbs and flows in emotion and what you want to be doing. You miss home, you miss the normalcy of home and the food is not normal. You’re eating dehydrated packaged goods. So, need to work on motivation and keep remembering why you’re there,” states Melissa.
Melissa leaves for Nepal on Tuesday, March 18th and hopes to returns back to the States at the beginning of June. For more on Melissa and her climbing adventures, check out www.melissaarnot.com.
-- Terri MacLeod