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Summiting Everest was just the beginning of @MelissaArnotReid’s journey to satisfying her soul. Watch how Seattle provided her perfect training ground. Watch more of Uncharted: Seattle at VISITSEATTLE.tv.

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Transcript

- For me, living in the mountains, it's mandatory. It's part of satisfying my soul. In 2016 I became the first American woman to successfully summit Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen. I work there as a professional guide and I climb all over the world. One thing that I believe in climbing and in life is that the summit is really for the ego, but the journey is for the soul. Seattle really creates an environment that is wonderful for challenging myself and exploring what my own limits are. I'm Melissa Arnot and I work as a professional mountain guide here in Seattle. Climbed Mount Rainier 110 times, climbed in South America, all over Asia and Europe. I just like to walk up hill slowly. Seattle culture has been completely integral to any success I've had. Almost every American who was significant in Himalayan mountaineering based out of Seattle. They all trained on Mount Rainier and they all came back together in Seattle. For people that love the outdoors it's one of the most amazingly wild and beautiful urban areas that you can be in. I mean you can just walk one block in any direction from almost any neighborhood and find yourself in some green space. And you can have these views out into the Puget Sound and looking out into the Olympic Peninsula. You can see Mount Rainier on a clear day. You can be nestled in the deep forest and feel like you're truly in a wild remote rainforest. And I've traveled all over the world and there's no other city that I've been in that gives you all of those things in one tight little geographic zone. Coming out to Washington State really is what changed my life. I started working as a guide on Mount Rainier when I was 21. I was definitely one of the youngest guides and one of the smallest. It was really challenging. There was a point when I had a whole group of climbers that just refused to clip into the rope with me 'cause I was a small, young woman. And remembering that as I gained more success and not just making the assumption that people would feel comfortable with me 'cause I had summited Everest, or people would feel comfortable 'cause I've climbed Rainier 100 times. And I felt like the best way that I can tackle sort of people questioning my size or my gender or my place in this job, was to be as competent as I could and to show them all of the dimensions of who I am. As I've been lucky enough to achieve my own personal goals, I've seen the importance of forming really close and continuous relationships with people who have similar goals. When I form a relationship with a mentee we get together and we become family. So of course we spend time in the climbing gym and go climbing together. Of course we're gonna spend time out on the trails running together and getting that work done. But for me, mentorship is a permanent relationship, it's not a job. It's such an honor to be able to be in the mountains, a place where I have the technical skills to stay safe and be able to teach other people and help them achieve summits that they're interested in. We talked a little bit about that it wasn't the physical challenge of that climb, which I knew it wasn't gonna be for you, but that it was just like overcoming the unknown, 'cause that is such a thing for me. I spend about half of my year working as a mountain guide and I spend my remaining time working on the non profit that I cofounded, which is called The Juniper Fund. We support Nepali families after the death of a mountain worker in Nepal. Our executive director lives and works in Seattle, and she really keeps everything going. And I'll take one of these onto the stage with me and like reference it. - [Female] How many people are coming? 500. Good job. We continue to have such phenomenal local support here in Seattle. Our biggest annual fundraiser happens on Mount Rainier. We bring eight to nine climbers up to the summit and each person supports an entire family for two years. And it's pretty amazing 'cause a lot of these people won't ever meet a family in Nepal, but they believe in what we're doing and it's an incredible way for us to be in the mountains while supporting this place that we love so much and the people that we care about deeply. One of the greatest gifts of my life is being able to travel all over the world. I get to really get to know different places while climbing mountains. But when I look at Mount Rainier, I see my home. It's where I learned how to speak to the mountains and listen to the things that they had to say to me. And I took those skills out into greater world. But it is really my home. So I come back and I sort of root myself down to this place before I launch off to the next place.