Neighbors of Park City

Parkite balances motherhood, mountaineering and mentoring

World record holder Jenn Drummond moves from a life of success to a life of significance

By Natalie Taylor, Neighbors of Park City

Jenn Drummond is living a life of lucky 7’s after a car accident changed the trajectory of her life, colliding with a semi-truck leaving Heber Valley in 2018. “I went end-to-end three times and then rolled eight times,” she remembers. “My car looked like a tin can.” The police rebuilt the accident 50 different times and couldn’t fathom how she survived, much less walked away. 

Although unscratched on the outside, the accident changed her on the inside. “I knew I wanted to live my life with more intention and authenticity,” Jenn said, who started by tackling her bucket list: hiking Cotopaxi in Ecuador. “I was training for Ama Dablam in Nepal when my son asked me why I didn’t just climb Mount Everest, because he thought that was the biggest mountain,” she said. Challenge accepted. Just one teensy problem: “I had never even slept in a tent,” she laughed. So, Jenn started training. And in 2021, at age 41, she summited Mount Everest.

Jenn summiting Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador.
Jenn summiting Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador.

Drummond has a unique athletic history. She was a gymnast and college soccer player, and upon her 2015 move to Park City from Michigan, she got into triathlons. The combination was perfect for mountaineering. “Gymnastics gave me flexibility, strength, and body awareness, soccer taught me short bursts, and triathlons helped me build endurance,” she says. 

From 2020 to 2023, Jenn climbed an average of four summits a year around the globe. Her last summit, Mount Logan in Canada, made her the first female world record holder to climb the second-highest summits on each of the seven continents. No small feat.

What’s more, she’s a mom of seven, ages 10–17. “I had failed at getting pregnant until they made me a chemical fertility cocktail that turned me into a hen,” Jenn laughs. “I thought I’d be lucky to have three kids.” Today, she has five boys and twin girls. So, how does she balance training and parenting? She gets creative. “I’d take a twelve-inch stair step to soccer games or run up and down the stadium stairs so I could be at my kids’ games and still get my exercise.”

But Jenn juggles more than climbing and motherhood. She’s also an international speaker sharing her seven secrets to becoming a better employee, professional development, self-care, and speaking with confidence.

She also hosts a bi-weekly podcast, Seek Your Summit, with an impressive array of guests ranging from professional volleyball player Gabby Reece to Glenn Stearns, the first billionaire to win Discovery’s “Undercover Billionaire.” “We talk about going from a life of success to a life of significance,” she says. “Athletes, musicians, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and artists exploring how to turn success into something more, and how to help others on their journey.”

Jenn climbing K2. Photo: Jenn Drummond
Jenn climbing K2. Photo: Jenn Drummond

Her first book, BreakProof: 7 Strategies to Build Resilience and Achieve Your Life Goals, hit the stands in early Jan. Jenn also offers a series of online experiential challenges designed to help people summit their metaphorical mountains. “I’ve learned a lot over the past five years,” she says. “These challenges are a way to help me pay it forward and share what I’ve learned with others.” 

Although her life has been filled with highs, it’s also come with lows. “It’s been bittersweet. I lost a friend in an avalanche climbing K2 in 2021, so I elected to turn around,” she said. “I told my kids that who we are as people is more important than anything we’ll ever achieve. Put people over peaks.” She decided to go back in 2022. Three weeks before she was supposed to leave, she learned there was a young woman in Pakistan who was training for K2 as well, but she didn’t have the resources to do it. “I flew to Pakistan and brought the resources she needed,” Jenn says. The two women were on the same team, and Jenn was just the third American female to summit, while Samina Baig was the first Pakistani female to stand on top of her country’ prized peak. 

It’s hard to imagine what’s next for Jenn. Something big, for sure. Right now, she’s enjoying her book launch. But the summits beckon. “Big mountains take a big team,” she says. “I have a big family that makes things happen. It’s part of the journey.”

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