Melissa Arnot Reid

The first American woman to summit Mount Everest without oxygen talks outdoor gear, Seattle’s pull for adventurous people, and the place in Washington everyone should visit.

Courtesy Melissa Arnot Reid

On what makes Seattle such an outdoorsy city

Seattle is perfect for outdoorsy people because there are opportunities to be outside no matter where you are. Beaches, mountains, city green spaces, and parks make it easy to enjoy nature.

On the experience that changed her life

Mount Rainier was the first big mountain I climbed. I came out with a friend and we hiked up Comet Falls to the Kautz Glacier, up and over the summit, and back down the normal route. Climbing from the rainforest to the alpine zone was life-changing! It is still my favorite climb because it is so close to the city but such a challenging and diverse volcano.

On climbing Mount Rainier more than 100 times

Mount Rainier is my home in so many ways. I grew up there. She knows me, and I recognize her many faces over all the years. I cannot imagine a time in my life where I won’t spend some part of my summer on her flanks, playing in the snow or enjoying the wildflowers. My favorite part of the park is the Grove of the Patriarchs, a very special old-growth forest that’s accessible to all [including kids and folks with disabilities].

On dealing with failure

Failure is a very important part of the process, almost more important than success because it teaches you so much about yourself. I think getting comfortable with failure as part of the process is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

On where to get gear

For all my warm/wet/outdoor clothing needs, I stock up at Eddie Bauer (various locations). It is a [99]-year-old brand founded here in Seattle by Eddie [Bauer himself], who had an incredible and inspiring history as a Washington outdoorsman.

On the one Washington spot everyone should visit

The Olympic Peninsula is magic! The peaks are beautiful, and you have huge rainforests that lead right up to the coast, which has great beaches and surfing.

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