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Mara Larson

Expedition Leader

Mara forgot to ever get a ‘proper’ job. She set off to Everest aged 22 running NASA research studies and simply never left. Combining her love for endurance adventures with high altitudes, she’s become one of the leading ladies of 8000 meter mountains.

Her PhD work looked at the brain at high altitudes, she’s spent a decade managing high-end Everest expeditions and now puts her passion into training and guiding those eager to explore the high altitude playgrounds of the Himalaya – and beyond.

In her down time, she still likes to sneak in speed ascents and currently holds the women’s record up Aconcagua.

 

Interview

What was your first adventure?

Ha, straight out the frying pan and into the fire! I was sent off to Everest at 22 managing a research project for NASA. That’s where I first learnt cramponing skills – messing around in the ice towers of the Khumbu just beside base camp. What an introduction!

What has been your most memorable adventure?

Way too many to recount! But sat sharing a thermos of tea watching the sunrise with my pal Pem probably tops it all. The two of us all alone on the traverse crossing the Lhotse face, just a shade under 25,000 feet. All the summit chaos was long behind us so we had the place to ourselves. Not a soul in sight. I’m not sure I’ll ever have such an impressively silent and happy moment in such a perfect spot again.

What item of travel kit you can't do without?

Aloha coral nail polish. Mountain world isn’t only┬áType 2 fun!

What three bits of advice would you give to people who are keen on adventures, trekking and climbing?

Open mind, open heart, 1000s of squats. Training is the passion, summits are just the cherry on top.

What is the best thing about your job?

Discovering those moments of truth with my team on each expedition. Helping my climbers learn to push themselves beyond their own limitations and seeing a whole new world open up in front of them. That’s what gives me ultimate happiness in the mountains.

Why did you choose to work for 360?

See #5. Spend your time surrounded by that same energy!

Nepal was a most amazing experience. It almost killed me but it was a most amazing experience! All the arrangements made by 360 went perfectly. From the flights to the accommodation to the porters, sherpas and cooks to the entertainment organised by Raj in Kathmandu everything went very smoothly. You even managed to sort the weather – sunshine and no wind. I would certainly recommend 360 to anybody looking for a well organised, personal service.

Allan Anderson, Mera Peak
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