Finding Balance as a Mother and Mountaineer: Hilaree O’Neill

Outside Magazine called her the “Mother on the Mountain”. Back in November 2013, I had the chance to interview The North Face athlete, Hilaree O’Neill, about the ongoing balancing act between her career as a ski mountaineer and as a mother of two young boys. What’s it like to climb Everest with two young kids back at home? How does she manage risk? What lessons has she learned over the years?

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Oh the Places You’ll Go!

Wikipedia tells me that our feet and ankle structure contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments. Each of these tiny parts bears not only my weight but often the pack on my back, and they are called to manouevre over uneven, often accident-prone terrain. Yet, all things considered, very little has happened to them and they continue to take me faithfully wherever I’d like to go.

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The Power of Not Doing: Thoughts on Climbing and Birth

I remember the odd alpine start on a climb where I was geared up and ready to go, but faced a delay. Whether a partner needed some extra time or the weather was suddenly looking questionable, unexpected delays such as these have often sucked the energy right out of me. This morning my husband remarked that this is how he feels as we wait for our baby to initiate his or her entrance into the world, and I certainly agree.

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