After Conquering Everest, Her Sights Are Set On Equality

Krystle Wright/Red Bull Content Pool
For Melissa Arnot Reid, taking steps towards equality is like moving mountains — literally. A mountaineer by profession — meaning she legitimately climbs mountains for a living — Arnot Reid has constantly had to overcome the impossible.
"When I started guiding, there were 80 guides and two were women," Arnot Reid said. "That was in 2004. I was young and small. I was 5’3 and 21 and middle age professional men wouldn’t want to work with me."
Now, Arnot Reid is best known for summiting Mount Everest a whopping six times, the most out of any American woman. She's also the first American woman to summit and descend Everest without oxygen. And yet, she wouldn't call herself fearless.
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"It’s my job to have a really good relationship with fear. It’s a relationship you don’t always want to have, but it’s so important to get to know it as best as you possibly can," Arnot Reid said. "Fear allows you to be present. It allows you to get more comfortable with mortality. It exists for all of us."
Last weekend, Arnot Reid joined skydiver Amy Chmelecki at the second annual Red Bull Fly Girls Summit in Florida where they discussed women in sports and the fight for equality.
"I'm interested in changing the balance of men to women in the sport," Chmelecki said. "I truly believe that in the world, now is the time for that. The traditional roles aren’t there anymore. Women have more freedom and comfort in thinking outside the box."
Thinking outside the box may seem like something that comes natural to a skydiver and mountaineer, but Arnot Reid says that wasn't always the case for her.
"I’ve always been average athletically in every way, except my perseverance," Arnot Reid said. "To be able to see that you can take something totally average and add drive and perseverance inspires me."
Arnot Reid's latest mountain is motherhood and she says that raising her young daughter puts her attitude into perspective.
"This person is learning everything right now. I’m her only point of reference and that's a lot of responsibility," Arnot Reid said. "It's really important to lead by example and be courageous and inspire her to follow her path."
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