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Tough Girl Podcast

The Tough Girl Podcast is all about inspiring and motivating YOU! I will be interviewing inspirational women from around the world, who’ve faced and overcome difficult challenges and situations, they will share their story, their knowledge and provide advice and essential tips for you to overcome your own personal challenges. Please check out the Tough Girl Challenges website - www.toughgirlchallenges.com and follow on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL
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Apr 10, 2018

Charlene Gibson grew up as a studious bookworm, who wasn't keen on the outdoors. She is an only child who was brought up by her Mum and Nana in a pretty rough area of Scotland, near Glasgow. Although an avid reader of Enid Blyton's Famous Five books, there was really nothing adventurous about her at all. However, in her mid 30s, following the break-up of a long-term relationship, she discovered her inner adventurer when, to avoid spending Christmas alone, she booked on a trekking holiday to Morocco. Despite the horror of having to nip behind a rock, armed with only a roll of toilet paper and some matches, she discovered that she loved the trip (albeit still not quite used to nipping behind a rock!) and decided that she wanted more. Trips to Turkey, Morocco (again), Kazakhstan, India, Peru and Nepal followed, with each trip being more strenuous and challenging than the last. That could only lead to one thing - mountaineering!

In 2013 she decided to aim high and successfully summited Mera Peak in Nepal, which is classed as a 'trekking' peak. Despite the success, it highlighted to her the limits of her mountaineering skillset and how fortunate she'd been that nothing had gone wrong. Several high-quality mountaineering courses later and rather more experience under her belt saw her looking for a worthy challenge to help celebrate (or commiserate) turning 50 in 2016. And what better challenge than attempting an 8000m peak for the first time.

On 1st October 2016, Charlene became the oldest British woman to summit Cho Oyu (8201m) and living proof that the most unlikely people can sometimes do the most surprising things - it's certainly been a surprise to her mother.

As of March 2018, her Cho Oyu record still stands, but will be under threat in Spring 2018, when two British women will be vying for it.

Charlene's next challenge is to attempt Ama Dablam in October 2018

Show notes

  • Growing up in Scotland and joining the civil service
  • Growing up as an only child, with not much interest in the outside
  • Starting trekking in 2000
  • Hating PE and doing everything she could to get out of it
  • Getting into mountain biking, but never describing herself as outdoorsy
  • Breaking up with the boyfriend after 12 years
  • Deciding not to spend Christmas and New Year alone
  • Heading to Morocco to trek for 2 weeks and getting hooked!
  • First time going on holiday by herself and feeling nervous
  • Taking that first step and not knowing what to expect
  • Why it’s about challenging yourself and not about other people
  • Enjoying being uncomfortable and starting to understand more about her limits
  • Dealing with lost luggage & how to handle it!
  • Being shy and dealing with the group dynamics
  • Developing fitness and starting to run - even though she doesn’t like running and would never call herself a runner!
  • The Everest Marathon - being fit and healthy enough to start it.
  • Rally Driving from Plymouth to Dakar (in a free car costing less than £100!) 
  • Looking for a change in 2013! Deciding on mountaineering!
  • Summiting Mera Peak in Nepal and wanting to see how she coped with the altitude
  • Developing technical skills… while on the trip and doing courses to continue to develop the skills needed
  • Tibet - 1st October 2016 - Climbing Cho Oyu (6th highest mountain in the world!) 8,201 metres!
  • Wanting to do something special for her 50th birthday
  • Summit night and struggling with acclimatisation and not knowing if she was going to make it 
  • Reflecting back on what she’s achieved - especially in relation to knowing her own personal limits!
  • What’s next!! - Climbing Ama Dablam in Oct 2018!
  • Running and working with a personal trainer!
  • Advice and tips for stepping outside your comfort zone and why going the commercial route could work for you
  • How she funds her trips and why she pays for it herself
  • Doing mountaineering for herself

Social Media

Twitter - @MadOldCatWoman

 

2 Comments
  • three and a half years ago
    Jane Whiteley
    Charlene you are a legend! This was fantastic to hear! I suppose I got use to hear about all your adventures, but not in such detail! By the way you were too modest about your running! Remember that time we all agreed to run 1000 miles, you were a bit behind due to work and adventures, so for the last 10 days, after work, you ran 10 miles through woods with a head torch for 10 evenings after work! No one but you could have done that!
  • three and a half years ago
    David Tipple
    Thank you, an excellent snapshot of one route into mountaineering by the very impressive and modest Charlene. I’d love to hear more details of the many adventures that Charlene has and will have.

    Here’s hoping for a follow up episode after the successful ascent of Ama Dablam.
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