“In climbing the Seven Summits, Silvia Vasquez-Lavado did nothing less than take back her own life—one brave step at a time. She will inspire untold numbers of souls with this story, for her victory is a win on behalf of all of us.”—Elizabeth Gilbert
Endless ice. Thin air. The threat of dropping into nothingness thousands of feet below. This is the climb Silvia Vasquez-Lavado braves in her page-turning, pulse-raising memoir following her journey to Mount Everest.
A Latina hero in the elite macho tech world of Silicon Valley, privately, she was hanging by a thread. Deep in the throes of alcoholism, hiding her sexuality from her family, and repressing the abuse she’d suffered as a child, she started climbing. Something about the brute force required for the ascent—the risk and spirit and sheer size of the mountains and death’s close proximity—woke her up. She then took her biggest pain as a survivor to the biggest mountain: Everest.
“The Mother of the World,” as it’s known in Nepal, allows few to reach her summit, but Silvia didn’t go alone. She gathered a group of young female survivors and led them to base camp alongside her. It was never easy. At times hair-raising, nerve-racking, and always challenging, Silvia remembers the acute anxiety of leading a group of novice climbers to Everest’s base, all the while coping with her own nerves of summiting. But, there were also moments of peace, joy, and healing with the strength of her fellow survivors and community propelling her forward.
In the Shadow of the Mountain is a remarkable story of heroism, one which awakens in all of us a lust for adventure, an appetite for risk, and faith in our own resilience.
Silvia Vasquez-Lavado is a humanitarian, mountaineer, explorer, social entrepreneur, and technologist living in San Francisco. In 2014, she launched Courageous Girls, a nonprofit that helps survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking with opportunities to find inner strength and cultivate their voices by demonstrating their physical strength. Courageous Girls has had projects in Nepal, India, the United States, and Peru. Vasquez-Lavado was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the Corporate Heroes of 2015. CNET named her one of the 20 Most Influential Latinos in Silicon Valley. She has also been recognized by the Peruvian government as one of the “Marca Peru” ambassadors (country brand ambassadors). She is a member of the Explorers Club and one of the few women in the world to complete the Seven Summits.
Stacy Crinks is the bibliophile owner of the award-winning Bay Area content marketing agency, the Content Bureau (www.contentbureau.com). She’s a passionate globalist, opportunity-spotter, connector, hand-raiser, evangelist, fundraiser, feisty advocate for women and girls, and big-hearted yogi. Stacy serves as Delegate to the California Democratic Party in Assembly District 16; and volunteers with Battery Powered giving circle, Crisis Text Line, Moms Demand Action, and National Charity League. She received a B.A. in political economy of industrial societies from U.C. Berkeley, an M.B.A. from Wharton, and an M.A. in international affairs and Spanish from the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. She speaks fluent French and Spanish, and has spent time in over fifty countries. Stacy lives in Orinda with her three teen daughters.
Silvia Vasquez-Lavado photo by Emily Assiran; Stacy Crinks photo courtesy of the publisher