"'A lifestyle' is better," DesLauriers says. "Whenever you get a spare minute, what you do with your life then is your lifestyle." Okay, so they took a lifestyle trip to Mount Aspiring, a 9,950-foot-high mountain in New Zealand, and DesLauriers became the first woman to ski from that summit. A year later, another, er, lifestyle trip took them to Denali National Park for climbing and skiing Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, and, at 20,320 feet, the third-tallest mountain in the world.
The Seven Summits challenge had begun. But DesLauriers didn't realize it at the time. "Denali was definitely a one-off," she says. "It wasn't until April of 2005 that I got the idea to do the other six."
Then things moved quickly. Two months after conceiving the Seven Summits plan, DesLauriers was in Russia, climbing to and then skiing down from the top of Mount Elbrus. By September, she was in Australia, doing the same at Mount Kosciusko. In December came a two-for-one trip to Vinson Massif in Antarctica and Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. The following summer and fall would see her first at Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and then at Mount Everest.
All of this, as Flynn puts it, "is awesome." But reasonable people - i.e., the kind of people who would scream in terror if they saw water turn to ice in midair - might ask, how come I didn't hear about Kit DesLauriers while she was going after these Seven Summits? Why wasn't she talking to Larry King after every stop? Or, at least, why didn't she have a blog? The answer to those questions tells you a little something about Kit DesLauriers.