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Adventure Medical Kits Athlete Profile: Hilaree O’Neill

Hilaree Oneill, Southeast Greenland photo:Adam Clark

Hilaree O’Neill, Southeast Greenland; photo:Adam Clark

 

Hilaree O’Neill — A Life in the Mountains

For Hilaree O’Neill, skiing is the gateway to possibility. She started skiing at age 3 at Steven’s Pass in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state. She took a leap of faith shortly after graduating from Colorado College and moved to Chamonix, France. In many ways, her five years in Chamonix served as a second round of college in that this where she was introduced to the world of big mountain skiing and climbing.

From there, the place for Hilaree was anywhere she could cut turns on mountain slopes: volcanoes in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia, in Mongolia, India, Lebanon, and first descents of the tight couloirs of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Her mountain adventures led Outside Magazine to name Hilaree one of the most adventurous women in the world of sports. She has repeatedly made a mark in the Himalayas. In 2005, climbing the 8,000-meter peak Cho Oyu in Tibet, from which she made the 2nd female oxygenless ski descent. In 2008, she attempted to climb and ski Gasherbrum II in Pakistan.

Makalu20151627In 2012, surrounded by team members she would mentor, and alpinists who would mentor her, she climbed both Everest and it’s neighbor Lhotse making her the first woman to climb consecutive 8000m peaks in a single day.

As the recipient of a National Geographic Explorer’s Grant, Hilaree led a team of alpinists to attempt a first ascent on a remote peak in northern Myanmar in 2014. The film about the adventure, Down to Nothing, won the Best Cinematography Award at Telluride’s MountainFilm in 2015.

And most recently, Hilaree attempted another Himalayan giant, Makalu which was named by Outside Magazine as one of the “Most Badass Adventures of 2015”.

Hilaree has entered the record books for high-altitude innovation and prowess. Between expeditions, Hilaree spends her time as a mother, adventuring with her two sons ages 6 and 8. In addition, her writing has been published in National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic’s “The Call of Everest”, the Ski Journal, Outside Magazine Online, the Outdoor Journal and several other publications. Hilaree also shares her stories through motivational speaking engagements across the country.

Hilaree continues to travel the globe, always looking for new ski objectives and honest suffer-fests.



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