Dream Design
The Reading Room

Life lessons: Interview with Edurne Pasaban

Edurne Pasaban was the first woman in the world to climb all 14 of the world’s peaks measuring over 8,000m, 13 of which she climbed without oxygen.

Mountain climbing
Stories for... The Heart


Along the way she’s suffered some serious hurdles; in 2004 she completed K2, considered the world’s most dangerous mountain, but had a near-fatal escape and lost two toes to frostbite. As a result of the experience, Pasaban was hit by depression, but eventually found the strength to continue on a new path and went on to complete her epic challenge in 2010.

Edurne Pasaban shot

Originally from the Basque Country, she has travelled the world, but always returns to her family home in Tolosa. To this day, she consistently challenges and overcomes the stereotypes of what it is to be an adventurer. Nowadays, she combines her sporting career with the business world, offering motivational talks to business, cultural and educational companies and organisations. Pasaban also founded Kabi, a mountain guide company, so that others can get to know and explore some of the most beautiful mountains of the Pyrenees and Basque Country, accompanied by expert guides. Carrier asks her why she wants to share her passion for the mountains with you, too…

“When I travel, I try to share life lessons and experiences with the people I meet – it teaches you to value life much more.”

How can the great outdoors enhance wellbeing and meaning in your life?

We live in a society where we never stop, where things are done very quickly, and where stress is a big problem. It’s so important to take a moment to think about these aspects of our lives. Taking time to be in and surrounded by nature and the great outdoors can help us reflect on where we are and where we want to be. I truly believe that being outdoors opens the mind.

Do you think difficult mountain expeditions can challenge people in a positive way?

Absolutely. The different obstacles I’ve faced have helped me to better understand myself. I now know where my limits are and every problem, no matter how big or small, helps me improve myself every day. Whenever you’re taken out of your comfort zone, you always learn something new.

Is it important for us to set new goals and challenges for ourselves?

Yes. There are moments when you ask yourself if your life makes sense – I often find that I’ve lost my motivation. Having goals and dreams means that your life has an exciting path to follow and gives it meaning.

Edurne Pasaban with locals
How do you engage with the local culture and people when you are in a new place?

On all the trips and expeditions I have been on, the things that are the most enriching are the people and their cultures. When I travel, I try to share life lessons and experiences with the people I meet – it teaches you to value life much more.