“I felt a sense of peace, of coming home to a place
where I belonged,” she recalls of that first climb.
Blum is a big name among mountain climbers, a trailblazer
She spent her youth in pursuit of thrilling adventures across
the globe. Most famously, she led an all-woman team to the top of Annapurna I in
the Himalayas, the tenth highest peak in the world and one of the most deadly.
The exhilarating but ultimately tragic expedition inspired her groundbreaking 1980
(and recently reprinted) book, Annapurna: A Woman’s Place—which
ranks among National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s top 100 adventure
books of all time.
“She is someone who is not only an inspiration, but
who is still studied by people who take mountain climbing seriously,” says
Rick Stoller, executive director of the Mazamas, a century-old mountaineering club
in Oregon. “Because of women like Arlene, nobody thinks twice now about women
taking on leadership in a major expedition.”