Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 143, July 2021 July 2020 - Page 39

Remy on the first of her 7 Summits , Kilimanjaro ( 5895m )
Going Walkabout
Remy then took herself off to Spain to hike the 800km Camino De Santiago pilgrimage route . “ I had no specific calling to do it , just felt I wanted to challenge myself , so once again I went alone . It was a great challenge to get up and walk 33 days in row , but for me the real accomplishment was getting past my anxiety , such as worrying about where I would be sleeping each night ,” says Remy . “ Luckily , like on Kilimanjaro , I once again met some incredible people on the trip , but I found it was not quite my thing , so to say . In the mountains I am surrounded by beauty all the time , but in the Camino , you ’ re often in cities or towns , and crossing highways . I am very in tune with the environment and my surroundings .”
Just two weeks after the Camino , Remy was heading to Russia , having decided to climb Mount Elbrus . She had read it was a slightly more technical climb than Kilimanjaro , and therefore a good learning experience for mountaineering . “ I climbed with a Russian company and group , as they offered better local knowledge and pricing , and once again really enjoyed the trip . It solidified my deep-rooted connection with the mountains , like a calling or a purpose , even though I was still in the explorative phase of mountaineering , still trying to figure out how far I can push myself .”
That saw Remy decide to climb Kilimanjaro at the beginning of 2017 , and she says it made her realise she had a taste for adventure , and mountains . “ In spite of my anxiety , I went by myself and just joined a group going up . I did have to overcome my anxiety caused by the break in my routine , like camping and disturbed sleep patterns , but I had no problems with the altitude , and it was a fun experience . It made me realise what I was capable of ,” she says . Later that year in September , to celebrate her birthday , Remy and a girlfriend went to Nepal to hike up to the Everest Base Camp , and she says she thinks that these two trips were the beginning of finding the missing ingredient , the passion that gave her purpose .
Hiking the Camino De Santiago in Spain
“ I had enjoyed five great years in my career , but felt my time with Growthpoint had come to an end , and I had come to the realisation that I didn ’ t have any specific dreams for myself , that I had instead lost myself in both work and my relationship , with a steady , safe routine , in order to cope with my anxiety . The trigger point was when I hit an all-time low after my relationship ended and I realised that I was alone , with no dreams of my own , so I resigned at the end of 2017 , packed up my life in Johannesburg and decided to take a sabbatical year to solo adventure travel around the world , stepping into the unknown and tackling my anxiety head-on .”
Remy summits Mount Elbrus in Russia ( 5642m )
At that stage , Remy says she had not set her heart on the 7 Summits , and going up Elbrus was more about training for higher mountains than chasing specific summits . In fact , after the climb she went hiking in Norway , and decided hiking was the thing for her … but the call of the mountains proved stronger and in February 2019 she was in Argentina to climb Aconcagua . “ That was another great expedition , and again no problems with altitude , even though it was the first time I had gone over 6000 metres . That sealed it for me , and I decided to do the 7 summits . It became my new dream , in spite of having no idea how to fund it , or what timelines to plan around . It had a lot to do with the people I climbed Aconcagua with , some of whom were going straight on to Everest , because I found I was as strong or even stronger than most of them , and that gave me a good benchmark .”
“ Next was Denali in July 2019 , and that was a big one for me . I wanted to do it before Everest , because people say it is actually harder than Everest , with 25 kilograms on your back , pulling a sled with even more gear , and weather that can be as extreme as