Mountaineering: One Per Continent

Outside magazine, July 1994


Mountaineering: One Per Continent
By Todd Balf (with Derek Rielly)


Working in the vast publicity shadow of climber and Seven Summits contender Sandy Pittman ("Rock and Hype," May) Alaska's Dolly Lefever walked up Australia's Mount Kosciusko last March to become the first American woman to climb the highest summit on each continent. "Honestly, this whole thing hasn't been a goal of mine," says Lefever, a 47-year-old certified nurse midwife from Anchorage. Actually, the idea to polish off all seven didn't take hold until last year, when she scaled Everest and Antarctica's Vinson Massif. Lefever then made a few calls. "I phoned one of the climbing magazines and asked if an American woman had done all seven," she says. "They said, 'Yes, her name is Dolly Lefever.'" After correcting them, Lefever made it official on March 11, when she hiked up the tamest of the seven summits, the 7,310-foot Kosciusko. "A friend and I got up to the top and it started to lightning, thunder, hail, and then snow on us," says Lefever, whose ill-prepared pal was "vibrating" with mild hypothermia by the time they finished the six-hour round-trip. "Mountains are mountains," she says. "You've got to be prepared for anything."

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