On May 31, 2021, Jenn Drummond, a Utah mom on a personal quest to climb the Seven Second Summits of the world, conquered another mountain her list—Mt. Everest. One of the original Seven Summits, Mt. Everest is actually known to be a less technical climb than K2, the second-highest summit in the world. Drummond used Mt. Everest as a training ground to prepare for K2—a summit where one in five people die in their attempt to reach the top. But the experience of climbing Mt. Everest turned out to be much more than a training exercise. For Drummond, it was profound and life changing.
On Top of the World
“Emotionally, you get to the top, [and] you are filled with gratitude,” Drummond explains.
Even though she missed her seven children, Drummond stayed focused on what having their mother climb Mt. Everest would mean to them. “This climb was about teaching my kids that limitations are a belief system. We are the ones who usually get in our own way. Doing Everest was about showing them what going after big goals looks like—not just talking about it.”
The Tibetan natives call Mt. Everest the “Goddess Mother of Mountains,” and Drummond feels deeply connected and inspired by that name. She explains, “By merely being present, [Everest] transforms the atmosphere, touches the heart, and revives the soul. The world happens around her. The weather comes and goes, and yet she remains. She allows us to play upon her surface. Just sitting in awe and wonder at this mountain really connected me back to being a mother and how just being present and confidently me I am being a great mom.”
Discouragement and Tragedy
Drummond also showed her children that accomplishing big goals will not always be sunshine and rainbows. The journey included a lot of low points and discouragement—mistakes, bad food, poor weather conditions, and homesickness. The lowest point came when one of Drummond’s sherpas died after falling into a crevasse between Camp 1 and Camp 2. On Instagram, she said of the tragedy, “Still trying to process it all. Today is heavy with emotion. Events like today are devastating.”
Through the hardships Drummond learned, “We all matter. Even when we are not at our best, showing up matters. Being the strong person for someone at a time of their weakness gives them permission to do the same for me during my weakness. Being raw, honest, and vulnerable allows connection. That connection allows us to borrow strength, courage, and grit from another, and together we achieve more.”
Achieving More Together
Before Everest, Drummond says that she didn’t understand how much work and effort it takes from groups of people “showing up” to make climbing Mt. Everest possible in the first place. Because of how big the mountain is, weather patterns are different in different areas. It might be sunny at the base camp while a snowstorm is raging at Camp 2 and high winds are whipping around the summit. Teams have to work together every day to make sure that the trails and fixed lines are usable and safe for the climbers.
Drummond says that she came to love getting to know these teams of people, who are native to Nepal. She found that many of these people who only make around $12,000 a year, sleep in sleeping bags, and eat the same meal most days are some of the happiest people she has met. “No matter what your goal is, the people around you make or break the experience,” she explains, “Stopping and asking myself what I need to make this situation a little better and then giving it to myself or stepping into it more is just as important for me as it is for the group around me.”
Conquering Your “Personal Everest”
A big mantra in Drummond’s family is about conquering your “personal Everest”—a big goal you are trying to achieve. Now that she has literally climbed Mt. Everest, her advice to others seeking to conquer their “personal Everests” is to “know your ‘why.’” She advises, “Anticipate your weaknesses and have motivational songs, quotes, and stories on speed dial so you are equipped to knock out any doubts at any time from different angles. Mentally prepare.”
When preparing for her journey, Drummond said that she had to come to understand what type of person it was going to take to climb Mt. Everest. She calls this person her “Everest persona,” and whether you are climbing the literal mountain or conquering your own personal challenge, it is important to identify what that persona looks like to you. “Think about the movie The Incredibles or Batman or any of our superhero movies,” she says. “When they put on their super suits, they rise to the occasion. It helps to do the same thing when going after big goals. When my super suit is on, I become superhuman and achieve big things.”
Drummond’s family welcomed her home on June 6, 2021, with a sign that said, “Best Mom EVERest!” On her Instagram she wrote, “I have always told them that we do hard things, and I lead by example.” She has truly set that motherly example by climbing the “Goddess Mother of Mountains” herself. And she plans to continue pursuing her goal of summiting all the Second Summits by June 2022.
Listen to an in-depth interview with Jenn Drummond on the Nugent Good News podcast!
When Jenn Drummond climbed Mt. Everest, she took Nugent Good News with her! Here she is holding a Nugent flag at the summit. We are so grateful for her friendship and continue to be inspired by her every day.
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