Rebecca Stephens was the first British woman to climb Mount Everest and, later, the ‘Seven Summits’: the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. Originally trained as a journalist, Rebecca has written several books and uses her experiences in the mountains to coach tomorrow’s leaders, often taking them to the mountains as well.
Two bottles, one full of water and one full of air
"The elements of life – oxygen and water – are so easily taken for granted, but after a couple of months at extreme altitude, where the landscape is undoubtedly striking but stark, it is exquisite to step off the glacier and onto terra firma, to feel a tidal wave of thick air flood into one’s lungs, to feel moisture on one’s skin, to listen to the burbling of water running free, to smell vegetation and to be reunited with the colour green.
A bottle of water seemed to say it all: at extreme altitude it’s locked as ice; where there’s life, it runs free. But then it struck me how even more fundamental the presence of oxygen is: above 8000m there is insufficient oxygen to sustain life even for a day. So the empty bottle is not empty at all, but full of air."