Local woman hits adventure grand slam

August 23, 2010 8:16:24 PM PDT
Alison Levine recently returned from climbing Mt. Everest and in the process accomplished something no American woman has ever done.

"What I did is called the adventure grand slam, which is all seven summits and skiing to the North and South Pole," says Levine.

Levine loves adventure. ABC7 profiled her in 2002 when she took the first American all-female expedition up Mt. Everest and after two months and 200 feet from the summit, they turned back due to inclement weather.

In 2004, she took on the North Pole and in 2008 she skied 600 miles from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole.

"I don't like routine. I like not knowing what's coming down the road. I like trying different things and I like pressing my limits," says Levine.

She recently completed her grand slam reaching the 29,000 foot summit of Mt. Everest.

"I got to the summit and seriously, I was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and tell me I've been punked or something and, 'this really isn't the summit, this isn't it,'" says Levine.

It was euphoric. She spent a half hour on the summit, taking pictures, admiring the prayer flags, then reality sets in, this is only the halfway point of your climb.

"You sort of half to pull it all together, keep your wits about you and realize you still need a lot of physical and mental strength to get yourself back down off that summit. Almost all of the accidents on Mt. Everest occur on the way back down," says Levine.

Making good decisions at 29,000 feet is tough due to lack of oxygen, but it keeps you out of life-threatening situations. Not everyone reaches the summit and that's not considered a failure.

"The only failure is to not come back alive," says Levine.

Alison will be at West Point as an adjunct professor this fall, teaching lessons in extreme environments as applied to military leadership, while she ponders her next adventure.

Did she at least get a plague for her grand slam?

"I thought Denny's might give me a free Grand Slam breakfast, I don't know I haven't talked to them yet," says Levine.

Levine is one of the most inspirational people as she pushes the envelope and the human spirit to the limit. We'll be sure to keep up you updated on her next adventure.


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