Lisa Thompson Profile

  • Lisa is a climber, coach, cancer survivor and passionate about exploring boundaries.

  • In 2018, she conquered K2, then all seven summits in 2021.

  • As Alpine Athletics' founder, she readies mountain athletes physically, mentally, and tactically, using her firsthand mountain wisdom to craft tailored coaching.
  • Spite drew Lisa into the male-dominated world of mountaineering. After her first Rainier summit in 2009, she knew that she wanted more. Her drive to learn and become a more skilled climber led her to climbs all over the world. In 2015, just before her first Himalayan expedition, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her diagnosis and eventual victory over cancer led Lisa to reprioritize her life and goals. In 2018 she became the second American woman to summit the savage mountain, K2, she also completed the seven summits in 2021.

    Lisa is passionate about encouraging and supporting more women to explore and gain confidence in the mountains. In 2022 she organized an all-women’s summit of Cholatse in Nepal. This climb became the foundation for future all-women’s climbs with a philanthropic focus.

    Lisa is the founder and own­er of Alpine Ath­let­ics, where she coaches mountain athletes of all levels to prepare physically, mentally and tactically for their next mountain adventure. She uses her first­hand expe­ri­ence in the moun­tains to cre­ate custom train­ing plans for her clients.

    Lisa Thompson Speaking Videos

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    Lisa Thompson's Speech Descriptions

    Embracing Change

    When I was young my father told me that change was the key to life. I wouldn't realize what he meant for several decades. Being diagnosed with cancer provoked me to examine my life, and I realized that I did not want to waste any of the time that I had been given. Although the decision was excruciating and scary, I left my corporate career, made changes to my relationships, sold or gave away nearly everything that I owned, and climbed Mt. Everest. Taking this leap of faith taught me many, many things about myself and others. Most importantly I realized that we all have the ability to create the lives that we want for ourselves. It may be daunting, and we will stumble, but it will be ok.

    Overcoming Adversity

    A cancer diagnosis is always devastating and threatens to throw one's life offcourse. I was diagnosed with breast cancer six months before my first Himalayan climb, and finished treatment three weeks before beginning to climb Everest. This experience - of fighting cancer while continuing to climb - taught me the importance of staying positive, managing what I can control and breaking things down into manageable chunks in order to overcome daunting obstacles.


    Success in the mountains, as in life, requires the ability to nimbly adapt to challenges and unforeseen obstacles. This flexibility was key for me as an executive - leading teams in a fast-paced, dynamic environment - and while climbing big peaks like Everest and K2.

    Building and Working as a Team

    The concept of building a team of strong people who are fiercely dedicated to a goal was key for me as an executive, as a climber, and as a cancer survivor. In each situation, I learned the importance of choosing the right people, defining roles and goals, communicating and measuring performance.


    Motivation is difficult to marshal at 26,000 feet when the wind is screaming outside of your tent and everything inside is frozen. It is difficult to find when doctors look you in the eye and say the word cancer. But within each of us is the will to fight, the desire to take one more step in a positive direction. The key is to realize that we are all capable of so much more than we believe.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Lisa Speak

    Rating Entries

    “The group really enjoyed the session and called it the best of the day. I so appreciate your talk, you continuously leave us inspired!”
    — Sarah W, Agency & Operations Manager, Google

    “Your story of establishing goals, commitment, perseverance, and personal strength was the perfect end to our meetings and I can assure you that conversations of amazement and inspiration continued for a few days within our team.”
    — Bruce Dickinson, Senior Vice President, Mortgage Lending

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    Books by Lisa Thompson:

    Finding Elevation: Fear and Courage on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain

    An inspiring story of danger, daring, and triumph on the world’s most dangerous mountain. Finding Elevation is the story of mountaineer and cancer survivor Lisa Thompson as she climbs through the “death zone” of K2.

    Awarded Second Place in The BookFest 2023

    Defiance led Lisa Thompson to the male-dominated world of mountain climbing. But after battling breast cancer, she needed to understand the motivations behind the risks she took while climbing. Finding Elevation is more than her climbing memoir. It is an examination of the human spirit and motivation.

    Readers will be gripped by Lisa’s path from amateur mountain climber to world-class mountaineer as she:

    Becomes the second American woman to summit K2
    Conquers the world’s most dangerous mountains
    Defines her own limits, and
    Discovers what she’s truly capable of

    In this inspirational book, readers will be moved by Lisa’s story of heartbreak, resilience, and the discovery that we must define our own boundaries, find our own happiness, and face our fears head-on.

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