In 2018, Jennifer Drummond had a life-changing accident. While driving from Heber City to her home in Park City, she was hit by a semi. Her car rolled three times and landed upside down in the median. She remembers seeing a man running toward her and asking if she was okay. Her first thought was to ask about anyone else involved in the accident. The man told her that she was the only one affected. She wiggled her fingers, wiggled her toes, and said, “I’m okay.”
Just being alive was a miracle to Jenn. When officers recreated the accident scenario virtually, she didn’t make it.
“By facing death it brought life to life for me,” Jenn says. “Everything is amazing. I am in awe of a rock or a piece of grass. It is something I had lost — that wonder — but the accident brought it back.”
Originally from Michigan, Jenn moved to Park City in 2015. She was introduced to the outdoor world for the first time with hiking, skiing and all the things her new mountain environment provided. She has seven kids — five boys and twin girls — and describes herself as a “busy mama” who puts her kids first. “I wanted to launch my kids first and do them and once they were ready to go, then I could do me.”
Her accident showed her that maybe life is too short to wait, so she planned an adventure of her own and brought her kids along for the ride.
She brainstormed with her family about what shape her adventure should take. She enjoyed a climb in Colorado, and her kids suggested Mt. Everest. Then she heard about the Seven Second Summits Challenge, and it seemed perfect.
“Seven Second Summits. It was 7 peaks. I have 7 kids. My birthday is May 2 and two is my lucky number,” Jenn says.
The Seven Second Summits involves climbing the second-highest mountains on each of the seven continents. All of the mountain peaks are separate peaks rather than a sub-peak of each continents’ highest peak. Many climbers and mountaineers consider the second summit climbs a harder challenge than the traditional Seven Summits. Jenn also learned it has never been done by a woman.
She completed her first climb in South America by climbing Nevado Ojos del Salado on the Argentine-Chilean border. She felt she was on the right path with her challenge when everything fell into place to get her there.
Her second climb is scheduled for February, on Mount Kenya in East Africa.
She explained that she climbs with groups rather than solo. She is trying to make each climb with local people rather than climbing with people from the US. For example, she said that when she climbs K2 in Asia, she plans to use local guides rather than bringing an outfitter.
COVID has put a delay in some of her plans, but she plans to complete her quest by the end of 2022.
The other peaks she’ll ascend are Mount Logan in Canada, Dykh-Tau in Russia, Mount Tyree in Antarctica, and Mount Townsend in Australia. She also has plans to climb Mount Everest in May, to train for K2 in July. “I need experience with altitude and with a savage mountain,” Jenn says. “Safety is my top priority and I promised my family I would come home.”
“Once you taste death,” she continues, “you look at life differently. Death doesn’t scare you. There have been more people in space than have climbed K2. It is known as the woman-eater because half of the women who summited it died on the way down.” She’s had moments of doubt but says that when she gets to the top of a mountain, you find yourself and lose yourself at the same time. “There is no self left. I am everything and everything is me.”
Jenn has had people tell her what she is doing is inspirational. “I am naturally shy and wanted to just do all this behind the scenes. But I had a girlfriend who convinced me that I needed to share it. People are struggling with COVID and isolation and are looking for inspiration to push them to try harder to live a fulfilling life.”
She says that mountains are “her thing.” She wants to inspire others to find their thing — whatever that may be — from skiing to making the best brownies. “Allow yourself to do what fills you up.”
Her social media page, boldbravebeautiful.com, has 2,700 followers so far. The most satisfying part for Jenn is when someone reaches out and they communicate and inspire each other. It is, as Jenn calls it, “The best part of the whole journey.”
Visit Jenn on Instagram.
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