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Seven Summits climber reaches new heights with memoir recounting experience

North Shore resident youngest Canadian to traverse world's tallest peaks

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Waiting for the delivery guy, Elizabeth Rose takes a moment to consider the unexpected upside of her personal economic downturn.

Rose, a Rockridge grad, is back on the North Shore after becoming the youngest Canadian to climb the tallest peaks each of the seven continents had to offer.

The tears, resilience and thin air are recounted in her newly-released memoir, Written in the Snow.

"It was the most incredible journey of my life," she says.

But the journey was only possible because no one was hiring.

"If I had just gotten a job straight out of college I don't think I would've climbed any of these mountains," she reflects.

Rose is at a coffee shop, taking a break before resuming her delivery guy stakeout. In 10 minutes or two hours or the second she sits down to dinner a FedEx truck will pull up and a pile of boxes packed with copies of her mountaineering memoir will thump onto her doorstep.

That thump will signal the end of one path and the start of another.

Her journey to the mountains started when Rose was stuck in a stasis sandwich.

Fresh out of university, her student career was over but her real career wouldn't start.

Nobody was hiring.

Browsing online she saw an ad that read: "Climb Mount Kilimanjaro!" It was a brief slogan, but like Drink Coke or Just Do It, it was an effective one.

Kilimanjaro could be done in six days. It would give her a feeling of accomplishment and let her return to the job search "with new motivation," she writes.

"I knew it was the tallest mountain in Africa, but that was about all I knew," she writes. "I sure had no intention of climbing other mountains after that."

Asked about the first trip to Tanzania, Rose chuckles.

"I mean, it's not really the normal route anyone takes when they can't find a job," she acknowledges.

A friend mentioned that her mother spent a year in training before setting a boot on Kilimanjaro.

"I was like, 'Yeah, I'll be fine,'" Rose remembers thinking.

She'd done trips, skied her whole life and studied abroad.

"I didn't go into it with any doubt or fear," she says. It was a "neat opportunity."

The book opens with a harrowing passage recounting Rose's descent on Everest.

She'd lost her footing on the peak and her flailing crampons came within inches of injuring her sherpa. Her tears fogged up her goggles. She'd be moving down with compromised vision. But she could still see what she wished she couldn't.

"When I finally pulled myself together from swinging from the highest mountain on the planet, next came passing the dead body that I had seen on my way up, haunting my thoughts the rest of the way," she writes. "Only the vintage of his boots told me he had been there for decades."

After striving to stand on Earth's steeple, Rose wanted to flee.

The book includes an email she sent to her parents in which she wrote there was "zero chance my kids are climbing Everest. I wouldn't even want a friend to go."

Talking about that email five peaks and one memoir later, it seems alien, like a promise mumbled before the alarm clock rang.

The message was a two-in-the-morning stream of consciousness email, she explains.

"It was a lot at the time but now that time has passed I'm like, 'Oh, I could go back,'" she says. "Now, if my kids one day really wanted to climb Everest I'm sure I'd come around."

It was on Everest, having already scaled Kilimanjaro, that Rose first heard the term Seven Summits.

"I Googled the rest of them and just decided on the spot that was going to be my goal," she says. "I thought it would be a cool lifelong goal."

It was also on Everest that she decided to write a book with: "all the lessons I learned that I wish I knew ahead of time."

The chapters are introduced with quotes from Elon Musk, Tony Robbins, and Thomas Edison, among others. "There are no regrets in life, just lessons," Jennifer Aniston informs the reader.

Working from a tiny studio in Switzerland, Rose walks the reader through each of the Seven Summits.

"I learned a lot about myself through that because writing a book for me was a summit in itself," she says.

Through her climbing, Rose raised more than $113,000 for Canuck Place Children's Hospice.

The book's target audience is: "a 22-year-old girl, kind of at a crossroads in life, like I was," Rose says.

The goal is to inspire readers, she says.

"I'm not trying to promote climbing. I'm trying to inspire people to set their own big goals and take all the lessons I learned and hopefully apply them to their everyday life."

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