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Pole Vaulter to Climber to Explorer // Stephanie Langridge

Stephanie Langridge Australin AdventurerBefore travelling to south America in March 2016 Stephanie Langridge had only ever climbed indoors in her local climbing and bouldering centres.  She has been climbing for less than three years, yet in June 2016 she summited a 5686metre peak lovingly named The Bull, in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, close to Huarez in Peru.  How did she go from zero to a 5600metre summit in under 3 years? Last week Stephanie spoke to us about her journey.  We’ve got some really important take aways that will really help you if you want to become more adventurous or if have been scared to do something different, so read on and, most importantly, leave Stephanie a message.

Stephanie Langridge – Background

Despite not having an overly outdoorsy or athletic childhood Stephanie took up the sport of pole vaulting in her native Australia.  After many years of training and competing successfully, she realised that in a sport where there is nothing in between being an Olympian and doing it just for fun, she had to make a choice.  In 2012, at 21 years old, she quit and moved into the arts, focussing on the thing that really drives her – people, by working as a publicist and event co-ordinator.  This is when her adventures really started.  It was 2012 when she started travelling and noticing the wonder of diversity and difference in cultures around the world.  Then, three years ago, she started climbing.

a woman is the foreground facing away, carrying a backpack.  There are high mountain of machu Picchu in the background and a bright blue sky with a few clouds. Her pack looks big and heavy!

Salkantay pass on the way to Machu Picchu: ‘I hiked by myself for 5 days and people were dumbfounded that a gringa would carry all her own gear and food when there were pack animals available! This hike cemented for me that not only are women amazing and capable and resourceful, but that they can do precisely what they imagine. Research. Engage. Encourage and support yourself and others. If you can map it out, you can hike it climb it conquer it.’

What motivates people for adventure?

Her current adventure, travelling south America, from Antarctica, was prompted by the death of a 24-year old friend; someone who had a life filled with rich relationships, extensive travel and wondrous adventure.  She decided to travel around the world, using up savings from her job.  From Antarctica where she went sea kayaking, she travelled through Chile, Bolivia, Machhu Picchu, Argentina and has her sights set on Galapagos, Burning Man festival, Columbia and Canada over the next couple of months, interspersed with work to build up the money she needs to be able to make her plans a reality.

This is the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina. My first time ever wearing crampons and walking on ice.

This is the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina. My first time ever wearing crampons and walking on ice.

What was interesting when we talked is that Stephanie describes herself as a bit of a Ferdinand (I’d never heard the story of Ferdinand).  Basically, she enjoys smelling the flowers – taking time and enjoying the moment.  Beyond that though, it’s very clear that Stephanie is driven to explore, to make adventures out of the every-day occurrences that punctuate our lives.  This is exactly what I find so appealing about her story.  It’s telling that she explained ‘My brain is still recovering from the stress I put it under to achieve.’  It seems like she’s using the adventure to recover.

This is the Rainbow Mountain in Peru. Totally mind-boggling! Another altitude hike, the Ausangate Trail - a day hike tour from Cusco.

This is the Rainbow Mountain in Peru. Totally mind-boggling! Another altitude hike, the Ausangate Trail – a day hike tour from Cusco.

Stephanie and I became acquainted on facebook.  After failing to summit a 6000metre peak in Bolivia in May she posted to a group that she had the opportunity to attempt a peak, but wasn’t sure if she should do it – financially, physically and mentally.  The feedback she got was overwhelming and it was an absolute joy to see her summit pictures on the thread only a few days later.  She had taken the plunge and done it.  That sort of thing really affects me – seeing her do that made me ask questions, with the result that it’s now up here being viewed by thousands of people.

So what are the take aways from Stephanie’s Story?

She’s open

Perhaps from having been told that she wasn’t good enough, repeatedly, as a pole vaulter in training, Stephanie has the sort of resilience that most of us can only dream of.  That allows her to show her vulnerability by reaching out in times of trouble and difficulty.  If you want to know more about vulnerability and how useful it is, check out Brené Brown.

This is me trying ice climbing for the first time in Bolivia, struggling for purchase before I learned a few of the techniques. I'm hooked and going to find more in Colombia!

This is me trying ice climbing for the first time in Bolivia, struggling for purchase before I learned a few of the techniques. I’m hooked and going to find more in Colombia!

She reaches out

Stephanie is a member of the Facebook Group ‘Tough Girl Tribe’.  It’s the place I first heard her story – online on a Facebook thread!  If you’ve never heard of Tough Girl Tribe, then you should know what’s great about this group: ‘Tough’ is different things to everyone.  For some people getting out of the door every day is tough and for others it’s making a decision on whether to spend your next three month’s rent and food money on summiting a mountain in the Andes.  You’re welcome in the group and if you want motivation right ow or in the future, you should check it out.

Check out the Tough Girl Tribe Facebook page and Podcast.

Check out the Tough Girl Tribe Facebook page and Podcast.

She wants to grow

…All the knots and systems and the potential to grow in so many different ways (technical, mental, physical) – that definitely appeals to me!  This was her answer to what appeals about climbing.  She likes to grow, which is a little different to learning.  Learning is knowing something, growing is reflecting and making change.

Speaking to Stephanie has made me reflect.  So, as you read this, whatever your position and wherever you are, I ask you these questions for reflection:

  1. How open are you to new things? What will you plan to do today that is a step outside of your comfort zone?
  2. Do you reach out? Where and when will you reach out for something close to your heart?
  3. How much do you want to grow? What do you want to do this week, this year, to grow? And are you prepared to be uncomfortable to achieve it?

Please let us and Stephanie know your answers to these questions – this community is for you and sharing is important.

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