Mountaineer Lisa Thompson visits The Bookworm to talk about new book |

Mountaineer Lisa Thompson visits The Bookworm to talk about new book

Lisa Thompson will visit The Bookworm on Wednesday.
Courtesy photo
  • What: Finding Elevation with Lisa Thompson
  • When: Wednesday April 12, 6 p.m.
  • Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., unit C101 Edwards, CO 81632
  • Cost: $10

Climbing and mountaineering can be difficult sports to get into, luckily mountaineer and motivational speaker, Lisa Thompson, has written a book detailing her climbing experiences that is chock-full of helpful advice.

On Wednesday, April 12, Lisa Thompson will present her book, “Finding Elevation” at The Bookworm in Edwards. The book is part climbing memoir, and part examination of motivation and the human spirit that reveals how you can meet your goals when you stop letting others define your limits.

Cover of ‘Finding Elevation’
Courtesy image

Thompson has always felt at home in the outdoors. “I’ve loved being outside since I was a little girl. I grew up in the Midwest and would wander through cornfields with my sister,” Thompson recalls. “When I was upset, I’d climb a special tree in my backyard and sit with my back against its trunk reading and dreaming about growing up for hours. Though I was clumsy at best as a kid, I’ve always found solace in wild places.”

Even though she has always loved wild places, she didn’t always want to be a mountaineer. “I didn’t grow up dreaming about the mountains or reading about pioneering mountaineers like Sir Edmund Hillary or Tenzing Norgay,” Thompson remembers. “I don’t even think that I knew where Mt. Everest was until I was in my thirties. Mountaineering is a part of the culture here in Seattle, where I live today. I lacked the confidence to ask to join my coworkers, who often shared their adventure stories in the office, so I ventured out on my own even though I had absolutely no idea what that meant. The first big mountain that I climbed was Mt. Rainier. Near the summit, the guide stopped to assess everyone’s ability to continue, and his belief that I could make it to the top and back was one of the first times in my life that I felt capable, and I wanted more of it.”

Thompson is now a capable climber, and is actually the second American woman to climb K2. Now she works to make sure there are more women who have their own climbing adventures to share. “It’d be dishonest of me to say that I didn’t want to be the first,” Thompson says. “Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I realize that it is far more important to not be the only than to be the first. When I began climbing I was often the only woman on a commercial climbing team. And, now, it is important to me to support and encourage other women to explore and challenge themselves in the mountains.”

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Thompson challenged herself when she climbed K2, and had to make quick high-stakes decisions. “When I was descending K2, someone was struggling to ascend on the rope that I was descending,” Thompson recalls. “I’m a complete nerd about studying mountains, so I knew that more people had died in this particular place than anywhere else on K2. I had a choice to make at that moment: I could have waited for him to stand up and continue climbing, or I could have continued rappelling to him. I chose to continue descending to him, which required me to execute several very delicate movements to navigate past him. I knew that if I made a mistake or miscalculated my movements, the consequences would be dramatic.”

Even if you’re not climbing extreme mountains like K2, Thompson has advice for climbers of all levels. “Don’t let someone else define what you are capable of,” Thompson encourages. “It’s OK to set lofty goals if you’re new to something, that’s how we grow, that’s how we figure out what we are capable of. The important thing is to seek out other people that you respect and can learn from.”

Thompson’s climbing advice can be applied to life as well. “You don’t have to push yourself in the mountains to understand that life is guaranteed to bring us struggles and obstacles,” Thompson says. “Sometimes when we believe we can least afford them, sometimes when the stakes are the highest. It’s what you do during the struggle that counts. It’s what you learn, what you share, and what you do differently the next time that matters.”

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