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In 1986, as part of a Canadian team, Sharon Wood became the first woman from the Americas to summit Mount Everest—and the first woman in the world to do so via the West Ridge from Tibet and without Sherpa support. But it’s how she got there that is truly compelling.
In Rising, the personal motivation that drove Wood to reach further and further heights are detailed through the years leading up to the career-defining climb. Often the only woman on expeditions, Wood was an outlier in a predominantly male bastion of high altitude alpine climbing. Against the backdrop of the stunning Himalayan mountains in the days before Everest became as commercialized as it is today, Wood explores the camaraderie and rivalry, the relatable challenges of falling in and out of love, and how she kept her drive to persevere. Subsequently, she recounts how she struggled with unexpected acclaim and expectations following her ascent of Everest, but ultimately found fulfilment and her place in the world.
As she tells her story today, her perspective is steeped in six decades of life experience rich with adrenalin, change, reflection and humility. It is a tale that still feels poignantly relevant—a testament to the strength of the human spirit to overcome all obstacles, whether mountain peaks, social expectations or self-imposed barriers.