Sometimes you run across those people who just inspire the heck out of you from the beginning--that was JoLee.

With a passion to climb and eradicate sex-trafficking, JoLee's life embodies a courageous mission to use her passions to rescue the most vulnerable people in the world.  

JoLee is on a mission to climb the 7 tallest peaks in the world, known as the Seven Summits, as part of her campaign to raise money and awareness for eradicating human trafficking.

If you yourself have a desire to climb mountains of any sort, JoLee offers advice on how she prepares for those! Enjoy her inspirational story!

Introduce yourself and tell us a few things about you! My name is JoLee and I've recently relocated back to Seattle and work in Corporate Strategy at Nordstrom. I love to climb mountains and I also volunteer for an NGO called the International Justice Mission that aims to eradicate slavery and human trafficking, which I am very passionate about.

 

How did you get into climbing? Tell us about some of your first adventures? I was at a family reunion in WA about eight years ago, and it was my first time coming back since I was a child. I took a day to myself in Seattle and sailed around Elliot Bay. I saw Mt. Rainier and wondered if I could climb it. I was out of grad school with my first big job and was trying out different things. I climbed Rainier on July 4, 2010 and decided I could actually do it and I really liked it! 

 

Share with us some about your ultimate mission with climbing. There are a bunch of us who are crazy enough to believe that justice for the poor is possible and that slavery can end in our lifetime! My mission in climbing is to support and be a part of that movement.

 

What is the Seven Campaign? The Seven Campaign was borne out of my passion to end slavery and my hobby of climbing. ~40 million slaves still exist - more than any other time in history. There is a systemic issue of targeting the poorest, most vulnerable to sell and re-sell them for profit. I raise awareness of IJM and its work of prosecuting pimps and perpetrators to tackle the problem of slavery and trafficking during each climb. I noticed people responded to it really well. So my goal became to raise the IJM flag on each continent's tallest peak, known as the Seven Summits. Check out SevenCampaign.com for the scoop and to learn about the issue.  

 

Which of the 7 highest peaks in the world have you climbed so far? I've climbed in a lot of places around the world and was able to complete one of seven so far (Mt Elbrus in Russia, or the European continent). I am a little behind schedule to climb the next due to work (having a full-time career and planning big expeditions can be tricky!). I'd love to climb all of the peaks before I start a family, but I'll re-assess that plan as time goes on. My clock is ticking! 

 

Share with us your hardest climb so far and how you pushed through mentally and physically? How did you apply this struggle to real life? Interestingly, my toughest climb wasn't a tall mountain. The Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands is only about 4,400'. In early January, my Scottish guide and I experienced total whiteout conditions and heavy winds, it was a map-and-compass situation each five steps or so. I thought turning back would have been safer as my guide and I never roped up, and still wonder if we should've, but we made it to the top and back safely and I somehow avoided frostbite. Regarding mountaineering endurance and its application in daily life, I actually think my learned perseverance (aka stubbornness) from daily life is what enabled me to push forward that day, and other days on the mountain. I'm not a professional climber and I'm not the most experienced, but I am a experienced at solving business problems and am strong in the professional environment, so giving up when I'm uncomfortable isn't an feasible option. At sea-level, you just look for other ways to solve the problem, whether it's managing people (or situations), analyzing better data, or changing your perception. So I clearly see a helpful correlation in my approach to normal / sea-level life and life at altitude. I think many others might be able to relate to this when they think whether or not they could what I do. 

 

Which peak do you plan to climb next and how do you physically prepare for each of them? tell us specifically about exercise, diet, and other habits you implement to prepare for these climbs. Next I'd like to climb Aconcagua in South America. I relocated to Seattle from Atlanta last summer, so this is the first time I'll be able to train with mountains nearby. Generally my training consists of cardio, plyometric, and weight training 3x/wk and some form of isometric training 2x/week. For diet, calorie counting isn't important, but eating clean is. I'm not great at it, but I do notice improved performance when I eat non-processed foods.

How can we help support your mission? Please head over to my site at sevencampaign.com, give financially to the International Justice Mission via the Freedom Partner program, or just read a few articles on human trafficking to become aware of the issue