Melissa Arnot, professional mountain guide, passionate mountaineer and Everest guardian, is a force to be reckoned with. She is the female record holder for summiting Mount Everest (five times) and one of the founders of the Juniper Fund which provides assistance to individuals, families, and communities in underserved countries adversely impacted by their work for the mountain-based adventure industry. She deals with a great deal of risk in her profession, has experienced unfathomable tragedy on Everest, and many other challenges, but she stays true to the love she has for the mountains and shares her knowledge with others while helping them push their limits to get to their own summit.
Along with Zamst, a company that provides precision and engineered support technology through their products and services which help support people’s active lifestyle in improved physical health, a select group of media had the opportunity to take an evening hike up Cecret Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon with some of the representatives from the company and Melissa Arnot. It was a chance to get more acquainted with Zamst and their products along with Arnot, who is a part of the elite athletes of Zamst, the ‘Z Team’.
In speaking with Melissa while taking the leisurely hike up to Cecret Lake, I spoke to her about her terrifying experience last year when she stepped between a mob of angry Sherpa attacking alpinists Ueli Steck and Simone Moro. Steck and Moro were attempting a different route to summit Everest and it sparked an incident that led to an explosion of fury that threatened their lives. Ueli Steck is a dear friend of Arnot’s and a quiet, determined man which Arnot mentioned might come across to some as being conceited. On the contrary, Steck is anything but conceited. I met him briefly a few years back and he took the time to talk to me and my son about climbing and mountaineering and encouraged my son to continue with his determination and love for climbing. Melissa confirmed what I had already felt about Steck in regards of him being a kind, quiet yet funny man.
Not too long after her experience with Steck and Moro, Arnot witnessed the tragedy that occurred in Everest this past April with the loss of 16 Nepalese guides which made it the deadliest disaster in Everest’s history. While some have become accustomed to hearing of deaths on Everest, this particular incident with such a huge loss, it was difficult not to be affected by the news. But to hear it from Arnot, who was actually there when it happened and jumped in on efforts to rescue and recover, made it even more devastatingly sad. The love that she has for the Nepalese people was purely evident and very admirable.
At the end of the hike, there was a nice Nepalese dinner set out for us at a campsite at Albion Basin. After ample photo ops of moose along the trails and running nearby the campsite, we sat down for a delicious meal and a much needed dose of banter. Melissa and I found out we share a mutual friend through the outdoor industry, which is pretty common, so of course we had to talk about our admiration for the guy and his hilarious snort of a laugh. You’d definitely be privileged to have Melissa Arnot as your guide for a mountaineering expedition. It’s an added bonus that you’ll also be fortunate to be around someone with classy wit, a huge heart, and contagious determination.
Visit www.zamst.us for more information on Zamst and their fantastic company in product technology and injury prevention.