Everest ambition wins sponsorship

By Australian Geographic Society 7 March 2011
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Adventure is often seen as a man’s domain, but Allie Pepper is out to prove that wrong.

THE WINNER OF THE 2011 Nancy-Bird Walton sponsorship for female adventurers has been awareded – on International Women’s Day – to Allie Pepper for her ambition to be the first Australian woman to scale Mount Everest without the aid of bottled oxygen.

“Women should take on adventures because the spirit of adventure is just as alive in women as it is in men,” says Allie. “Furthermore, women are just as capable of success in their adventurous endeavours as men.”

Since 1999, Allie has worked as a mountain and adventure guide in Australia, Nepal and South America, summiting some of the worlds most challenging peaks including Cho Oyu in the Himalayas and Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas. In late March this year, Allie will travel to Nepal to begin her biggest adventure yet, an ascent of Mt Everest.

“To me adventure is an activity or journey that is challenging. It pushes you beyond your comfort zones. An adventure starts as a dream, is carefully planned, then once undertaken not everything may go according to the plan! The greatest challenges and adventures most often give the highest rewards,” she says.


The 8850-metre-climb is not only about the adventure itself, says Allie, but it’s about inspiring other women to reach their own goals.

“I now have more opportunities to inspire other women through my expedition and my story. Having the support of Australian Geographic turns my expedition into more than just a personal mission. I feel like an ambassador for Australia, women and the sport of mountaineering, which is a very motivating feeling.”

In its second year, the Nancy-Bird Walton sponsorship aims to encourage and support Australian female adventurers. Nancy-Bird Walton was a pioneering Australian aviatrix, the first woman to work in commercial aviation in Australia and the pioneer of an air ambulance service for remote areas of Australia. The Nancy-Bird Walton sponsorship aims to be remindful of Nancy’s legacy as an inspiration to women around the globe and the need to encourage more female role models.

“In today’s society Australia’s adventure female role models are more important than ever” says Allie, “and what could be more inspirational to young women than seeing someone like themselves who has stood on the very top of the world and was able to say ‘I have come a long way and I did it on my own.'”