In May 2017, Tiso Ambassador, Mollie Hughes became the youngest woman to summit the highest mountain in the world from both sides, after a gruelling seven week expedition which took her up the treacherous North Side of Mount Everest. On 13th June 2017, Mollie spoke at a sold out event held at Edinburgh’s Napier University to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
Since Mollie first set her sights on reaching the summit of Mount Everest for the second time back in 2015, Mollie has been trying to source essential sponsorship in terms of fundraising and equipment for the expedition. Mollie, who works in Tiso’s head office, came to us because of our long standing history with Everest expeditions, and knew we’d offer support with our knowledge and expertise.
CEO, Chris Tiso was part of an expedition to Mount Everest in 2000, along with Polly Murray, who became the first Scottish woman to climb the mountain. Mollie successfully summited the mountain at the age of 21 in 2012, and continued to work in our Rose Street Store while she looked for support for her next challenge.
Tiso itself has been involved with expeditions to the mountain in Nepal since the late 1970’s. Tiso decided to support Mollie in her attempt and provided both funding and equipment from some of our largest brands, including Rab, Montane, Suunto, Osprey, GoPro, Black Diamond and Icebreaker. We saw this as a great opportunity for Tiso to return to Everest as a principle sponsor to Mollie, as well as helping to share her story and help to raise the total of £8,848 for Cancer Research UK. Kae Tinto Murray also helped to support Mollie with a personal trainer courtesy of David Lloyd Gym – Corstorphine, and additional financial support. At the event on Tuesday 13th June, around two hundred guests arrived at Edinburgh Napier University’s Craiglockhart campus to hear more from Mollie’s incredible and record breaking 2017 #TisoReturnsToEverest expedition.
Chris Tiso introduced Mollie, who began speaking about where her love of mountaineering had begun, recounting a story about the first major expedition she completed with her school on a trip to Kenya. Mollie’s enthusiasm was clear, and she spoke so confidently about her personal experiences on the mountains she had climbed in the summers in between study and work.
Mollie continued with her talk, with her audience completely captivated by her words. She discussed the route she had taken on the South Side expedition on Everest back in 2012, telling us stories of how she’d overcome challenges and a fear of heights. She told us how she’d learned to manage her fear, and push herself beyond her limits to reach the summit. In her university dissertation, Mollie had written about the psychological challenges that a climber faces on mountains like Everest.
Hearing her talk about her own struggle brought the subject to life for the packed lecture theatre. As Mollie moved on to speak about the successful expedition and return to Everest in 2017, you could tell that she was incredibly excited to tell everyone the real truth of the journey from the UK to the highest point in the world, and the differences she’d faced on this trip, compared to her 2012 route.
We won’t give too much of her story away, as I know she is keen to spread the word about her achievements to more young people across the UK to inspire them to try something new, get out there and find their own adventures. One of the main highlights from the evening was getting to hear more about the team that helped Mollie on the mountain, from videos in the tent from her mountain guide, Jon Gupta from Mountain Expeditions, to the team of local Sherpas, Lhakpa & Leila, and the Yaks that trekked up the mountain from Basecamp to Advanced Base Camp alongside Mollie.
She drew attention to how she had climbed with them previously in 2012, and how happy she was to have them by her side this time round. Mollie also shared some of her personal thoughts that she had while she was away from home, worrying about whether she would be able to push beyond her boundaries and reach the summit for the second time on the more exposed and tougher climbs on the North Side of the mountain. She shared videos and photos from the exhausting acclimatisation climbs, and her experience of the complete darkness that she climbed through to reach the summit as the sun was rising on the 16th May.
View our photo gallery from the event below: (Some images courtesy of Mike Wilkinson Photography)
Mollie’s talk was fascinating and we’re incredibly proud to have supported her through the expedition. We’re hoping to help Mollie get her message out there, including those tough challenges and feelings of complete exhilaration that she faced on her expedition.
If you’d like to come along to one of our other events, make sure you’re following us on social media @tisoonline. Share your photos from the evening, or from your own adventures with #MyTiso.