We hear a lot about the famous people on Everest so I like to focus on the not so famous; however you might define that. In her hometown of St. John's Newfoundland, TA Loeffler is quite famous; even a legend. If you have ever read her Blogs, book or had been fortunate to hear her speak, you know why.
TA is one of those individuals who brings you into her world by inspiring you to be the best in yours. She will be climbing Everest this spring with Canadian Tim Ripple's Peak Freaks.
When not climbing, TA teaches outdoor education at Memorial University of Newfoundland in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation. She tells me that the university has been very supportive of her climbing passion and sees them as professional “performances” in the same way that her colleagues in music might train for and perform a concert.
TA feels It's important to give back to the community that supports her and she regularly speaks in schools trying to inspire kids to have big dreams and to become more physically active. Over 20,000 kids have heard TA talk - amazing.
One of her first big climbs was an attempt on Mount Robson in the Canadian Rockies. She continued to build skills and interest on the Mexican volcanoes in addition to a cornucopia of outdoor activities such as sea kayaking, canoeing, winter camping, skiing and of course being from Canada, ice hockey. In the midst of all this she became an instructor for NOLs.
She learned a valuable lesson in 2004 while on Denali. With a NOLs teams, they started at the Muldrow Glacier and climbed the 18,000 feet to the summit, humping huge loads along the way. They lived on the glacier for almost 30 days and managed to get all 14 climbers to the summit and back. She says it was a turning point for her.
Now infected with this addiction we call mountaineering, she began looking for something more and soon found herself biking to Everest Basecamp on the Tibet side. It was then the pull of Everest was planted. Similar to many of us, she wasn’t scared about the climbing but rather was terrified by the fundraising. In her own words; she "had no idea how a phone-phobic, terrifically shy human was going to raise the $60,000 I needed to make the climb possible."
Her dream started to come together after selling T-shirts and toques, begging friends, and soliciting sponsors. With the Seven Summits in her plans, she has been plugging away… summitting Aconcagua in 2006, Kilimanjaro in 2008, Elbrus in 2009 and Kosciusko in Oct of 2009.
And of course an ill-fated attempt on Everest in 2007. Her experience was discouraging but that word is not in her vocabulary. She made an attempt on Pumori in October 2008 as part of her Everest come-back tour. It was on Pumori, while looking at Everest, that her dream was cemented.