Conquering Fear and Doubt: Iowans Who Climb Mountains

Jun 21, 2016

We use the metaphors “climbing a mountain” and “reaching the highest peak” as a way to describe the biggest challenges in our lives.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Iowans who have summited the highest peaks in the world, pushing themselves to the limit, stepping out of their comfort zone, and in Jesup native Jennifer Loeb's case, finding a greater sense of purpose.

"There's a lot of emotions going through your head as you reach the summit," says Loeb, who recently became the first woman from Iowa to summit Mount Everest. "It was a lot of blood sweat and tears, and to have it all come together and actually make the summit - it was a relief."

Loeb has her sights set on conquering the highest peak on each continent, and she's climbed six of the seven summits.

Credit Jennifer Loeb

Nebbe also talks with Dr. Richard Deming, founder of the group Above + Beyond Cancer, an organization helping cancer survivors travel the globe, climb mountains, and take on other challenges like assisting victims of the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. Deming says that climbing mountains helps put things in perspective.

“Facing something that you don’t know you can accomplish gives you an understanding of your inherent strength, and it helps build the resilience that it takes to actually live your life open to challenges as they come along," says Deming.

Also joining the conversation are Dr. Jeff Nichols and Sarah Russell, who both went on Above + Beyond Cancer's 2012 trip to Mount Kilimanjaro. Nichols' wife came with him on the journey, and has since died of breast cancer. Russell is a cancer survivor living with Stage IV breast cancer.

“The whole thing was a life changing experience, from the climbing of the mountain itself to the people I met," says Russell. "It’s changed me for the better.”