Sara Hastreiter attempts Mount Denali

Being Comfortable with Uncomfortable – Sara Hastreiter’s journey to the top

7 Seas 7 Summits – A Global Challenge

Sara Hastreiter has just spent 20 days in extreme conditions mountaineering in the snow up Alaska’s Mount Denali, the fourth peak of her “7 Seas, 7 Summits” challenge, which will see her become the first woman to climb the highest peak on each continent, as well as sail across seven of the world’s oceans (which she has completed already as a sailor in the Volvo Ocean Race on board the all-female Team SCA).

However, misfortune struck on Denali. Sara developed a chest infection, which at 19,000’ can turn critical quickly in the thin air, forcing her to abandon her attempt torturously close to the summit.  Now, she must wait a year until climbing conditions are favourable enough for her to return to take Denali on a second time.

Yet, she doesn’t dwell or regret. For endurance athletes, setbacks are part of the learning process and although it’s only been a couple of weeks since she was on the mountain, Sara’s spirits are high:

“I’m completely comfortable with the decision I made to return to camp. When you put yourself at risk in a situation like that, you’re also putting others in potential danger. If I pushed on and attempted to reach the summit, I would be relying on others to take care of me in extreme conditions. If I needed to be rescued, that rescue mission would have been risky for all those involved.”

Sara is also looking to the future; attempting to secure sponsors for her second attempt at Denali and her final three peaks (Antarctica’s Vinson Massif, Indonesia’s Carstensz Pyramid and the awe-inspiring heights of Mount Everest), as well as a charity climb to Everest Base Camp in September, as part of her work as an ambassador for World Hope International.

So, Sara Hastreiter, what’s tougher, sailing or climbing?

“In terms of physical output, climbing is harder and the altitude can be very hard on your body. Then again, being out at sea for months at a time takes its toll on your body too, particularly the effects of sleep deprivation. There are transferable skills between the two, especially when it comes to the capacity to endure exposure and remoteness – and being vulnerable. You have to learn how to live and thrive in those kinds of environments.”

As Sara describes in her own words, big projects like this are about “figuring out how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” That could mean developing mental fortitude, a tolerance for physical pain, as well as being aware of your body and its limits, even if it means turning back.

Knowing when to rest and recover, Sara is using her time cross-training, reconnecting with the sea and working through her onward training programme using lessons taken from her recent Denali attempt, until she returns to conquer the Alaskan mountain next year. 

We at Apsu are committed to supporting Sara with a vision to achieve this huge undertaking together. Check out Sara’s testimonial here >>

If you work for a company who would be interested in supporting Sara’s ambitions, you can contact her through Facebook or her website.

There are also spaces available on her Everest Base Camp charity climb in September, so get in touch if you want to join her.

Follow and Support Sara here >> 

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