Adventurer Kim Hess presents stories of climbs, dreams

Julia Ben-Asher/For Steamboat Today
Steamboat Springs climber Kim Hess shared a photo on the summit of Mount Everest to her Facebook page.
Courtesy/Kim Hess

If you go:

What: Kim Hess presents "Following Your Dream to the Top of the World"

When: Doors, bar, silent auction, 6 p.m.; presentation, 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 13

Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.

Tickets: $20 general admission; $15 students, EOS members

— You’ve probably read about Kim Hess in the newspaper, seen photos of her beaming atop the world’s most daunting mountains shared by local businesses’ social media accounts, or heard her name and latest adventure mentioned around town.

But most haven’t heard Kim Hess’ story, and the stories she’s lived, as told by Kim Hess.

On Friday, Jan. 13, Hess will present those stories at the Chief Theater during a night of storytelling and pictures.

“I’m excited to take everybody through this journey I’ve been on for so many years,” Hess said. “The community has been behind me so much, but this is an opportunity to share a side of me that most people haven’t gotten to know.”

Hess’ most recent big climb is her May 2016 summit of Mount Everest. The journey was Hess’ second attempt at the summit. Her first trip in April 2015 ended at Camp 2 when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook the mountain, killing 22 climbers and almost 10,000 throughout Nepal.

Her success the second time around was reported across Colorado.

“THIS is #Horsepower,” the official account of the Broncos cheered in a caption of the reposted Instagram photo, picturing Hess’ triumphant grin and mittened hands holding a Broncos flag at 29,035 feet.

The climb marked the fifth major mountain the 32-year-old has checked off her list, after Argentina’s Aconcagua at 22,841, Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro at 19,340, Russia’s Mount Elbrus at 18,510 and Alaska’s Denali at 20,320.

She has her sights set on two more — Mount Vinson in Antarctica (16,050 feet), and Kosciuszko in Australia (7,310 feet). It’s a plan she hatched with her brother Steven Hess to reach the highest point on every continent, a feat better known as the Seven Summits.

But what many people don’t know is that Kim Hess’ ultimate goal isn’t the Seven Summits. It’s bigger than that.

The Explorers Grand Slam is a successful completion of the Seven Summits and a traverse to both the North and South Poles, “which is becoming more and more difficult,” Kim Hess said, “Since the North Pole is melting, and it’s not very safe. I hope people can chase that in the future, but I think it’ll soon become obsolete.”

Fifty-one people in history are recorded as completing the Grand Slam; 12 are women. Hess would be the 13th.

“I wouldn’t be the first woman, or the fastest,” Hess said. “It’s more about the message behind the bigger goal.”

“My mission is to empower women to challenge the traditional gender roles and step out into the new role of modern female superheroes,” she wrote on her website at

She’s hoping to make it to Antarctica by year’s end to tackle both the climb of Mount Vinson and the traverse.

“I hope people walk away (from the presentation) inspired to face whatever their dream is,” Hess said. “A lot of my message is trying to remind people you can do anything you want, despite what others think you’re capable of.

“I want to help them get ready to get their Everest.”

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