Steph Lightfoot was this year’s lucky winner of the Saab Salomon ‘Live Your Dream’ competition, where she won 10,000€ to spend on the dream trip of a lifetime. We catch up with her to find out how her exciting expedition is progressing…
Name: Steph Lightfoot
From: London originally, but I have lived in the French Alps for most of the last 11 years. Now based in Chamonix.
Why did you decide to enter the Salomon ‘Live your Dream’ competition?
I entered it on a whim when I’d just got back from a ski expedition to Greenland. I was all fired up about skiing and travelling, and filled in the application in about 20 minutes!
How did you feel when you heard you’d won?
Totally shocked – I’d just got back from climbing Mont Blanc and was still in my mountain gear when I picked up the email to say I’d won. Initially I didn’t believe it – things like that happen to other people – but then started bouncing around my flat with a massive grin on my face. My friend, Hannah, thought I was totally bonkers.
Who will you be taking with you on your travels?
My friend and fellow mountain chick, Emma Jack.
How long had you been planning your adventure?
I’d been planning to go to Nepal for about a year, trekking and climbing. Cho Oyu was a vague idea but I had no idea how I’d be able to afford it… now that it’s really happening there’s a lot of planning yet to do. The expedition starts next August, and we have just got back from a ‘training trip’ to see how we got on skiing at altitude. As it turned out – great!
What’s the full itinerary?
We’ve just got back from a 6 week trip in Nepal, including climbing four 6000m+ peaks, and being the first girls to ski Mera Peak (6400m). Pretty hard work, but amazing to be skiing down looking over at some of the world’s most famous and impressive mountains – Everest, Cho Oyu, Amadablam, Makalu… We’re now off to Thailand for a month of chilling out (our bodies need a rest!), climbing on the beach in Krabi, and then a 2 week massage course in ChangMai. Our main Cho Oyu expedition starts next August… we’ll be climbing from the Tibet side, and it will take up to 10 weeks to get to the top and ski from the summit (weather and acclimatisation depending).
Have you always been into extreme sports?
My mum would say I’ve always been an adrenalin junkie! I’ve skied since I was 7 but climbing and mountaineering are relatively new to me – I only started climbing 3 years ago, but I love it.
How have you been training for your trip?
I run 2/3 times a week, bike and swim to keep fit. Plus I climb, and hike about in the mountains whenever I can in summer. In the winter, I’m lucky enough to be able to ski pretty much every day.
What’s been the highlight so far?
It’s so hard to pick one highlight! Skiing from Mera peak was an amazing buzz. Watching the sunset on Everest from the top of Gokyo Ri was pretty special. Scrambling to the top of Pokalde to watch the sunrise was amazing and really good fun. Getting to the top of Island peak… Having a bath when we got back to Kathmandu…
What are you most looking forward to?
Celebrating having reached the summit of Cho Oyu and skiing down safely… with a massive burger and a glass of wine in K-too in Kathmandu.
What made you decide to embark on such a challenging trip?
I recently sold my business in the alps and have decided to have some time off. Having done a lot of backpacking in the past, I’m not really motivated by just travelling somewhere – sitting on buses and beaches and traipsing around cities doesn’t do it for me. I need to be outside and doing something physical and I really wanted to do something in my brother’s memory (he died earlier this year). It’s exciting – and scary – to see how far I can get on Cho Oyu and how far I can push myself, and hopefully in the process Emma and I will help raise awareness and money for the Samaritans.
Would you recommend other women to try travelling?
Of course – just get out there! The world’s such a small place – it always amazes me that in just a few short hours in a plane you can be somewhere so completely different.
To follow Steph’s exciting expedition, click on to her Extreme Chicken website.
You can also sponsor Steph – all money raised goes to the Samaritans.
The ‘Live Your Dream’ competition is where Saab and Salomon have joined forces to offer you the chance of winning your dream experience. The overall winner will receive 10,000€ to spend on the dream trip of a lifetime. Go wherever you want, with whoever you choose and do whatever you decide, equipped with Salomon mountain sports gear. Only one condition: your trip must begin before 25th February 2008! Go to the website for the full details and to enter your application.