At the age of 21, Stacy attempted her first major climb, Mt. Huntington in Alaska. Her climbing partner broke his ice ax only 200 feet from the top and they turned around. Although she did not summit, the undaunted desire to climb big mountains began in earnest. "Our ability to respond positively to setbacks, fuels our creativity and lays the foundation for future successes." The following year, Stacy did reach the top of Mt. McKinley, and was part of the first successful women's ascent of Ama Dablam, the 22,495 foot peak known as Nepal's Matterhorn. While far from minor, Stacy saw these accomplishments as part of the groundwork that would enable her to scale more challenging mountains.
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Stacy was the first American woman to top Pik Communism, at 24,600 feet, the tallest peak in the Russian Pamir Range.
As a member of the North Face American Mt. Everest Expedition, Stacy did not summit. She describes the challenge: "The worst storm in forty years moved in trapping us in a snow cave at 23,500 feet for five days." Turning back can be the most difficult decision of all, particularly when the effort represents the consummation of a lifetime of dedication and hard work. Stacy reflects, "If you see yourself as trying to beat the mountain, eventually the mountain will win. You don't conquer mountains, you cooperate with them."
Stacy returned to Mt. Everest with the Northwest American Everest Expedition. On September 29, 1988, after twenty nine days on the mountain, Stacy became the first American woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the world's highest mountain at 29,028 feet.
Stacy then went on to become the leader of a successful K2 expedition, the world's second highest mountain, considered to be the most difficult peak on Earth to climb. Three of the team of seven made it to the top; after an accident to the third, in keeping with her view of teamwork and leadership, Stacy and the others descended. "In any endeavor, leaders should inspire members of the team with a passion for success, "Stacy says, "but within the framework of team effort. One of the most crucial things to realize, feel and remember, is that when one team member succeeds, the entire team succeeds."
Stacy's mission is to encourage people to move beyond limitations and reach for their dreams. She challenges her audiences to lay the foundation for risk taking by accepting full responsibility for their lives. She also emphasizes the importance of recognizing and valuing everyone's contribution as a team member in life's pursuits.
Stacy recounts the Everest challenge in her book, Beyond The Limits: A Woman's Triumph on Everest. It is a suspenseful, triumphant adventure story-a primer for anyone who has ever faced a mountain, physical or metaphorical, and reached for its summit. Her new book, Many Mountains to Climb: Reflections on Competence, Courage and Commitment is an exciting anecdotal account of climbing struggles with tips, cautions, alerts, suggestions, and planning ideas that will help you plot your way more surely to professional and personal success.
In addition to speaking, Stacy owns and operates Stacy Allison General Contracting, a residential building company. She and her team of builders specialize in the restoration and remodeling of older homes. Stacy lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, David, and their two young sons.
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