Do you know the story of Sophia Danenberg aka the Pioneer of the Peaks?
Sophia Danenberg was born with a surplus of next level energy and expectations so high that they would propel her to become the first African American & first Black Woman to summit Mt. Everest.
Sophia was born on January 1, 1972 just outside of Chicago to parents who encouraged her to embrace the adventure of life! After graduating from high school in 1990 Sophia chased her love of nature and studied environmental science and public policy at Harvard.
After graduating Harvard in 1994, Sophia decided to explore her mothers Japanese heritage and went on to study at Keio University in Tokyo as a Fulbright Fellow. She would later go on to work in Japan and China on indoor air quality projects.
Danenberg became involved in mountaineering in 1999 after a childhood friend encouraged her to try rock climbing. Danenberg’s first major climb was summiting Mount Rainier in 2002. Over the next two years she would go on to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Baker, and Mt. Kenya.
In 2005 Queen Sophia tapped into her inner savage and went full beast mode, scaling five peaks: Grand Teton (Wyoming), Mount Katahdin (Maine), Mount Denali (Alaska), Mount Tasman (New Zealand), and Ama Dablam (Nepal).
With an MVP worthy climbing season under her belt, Sophia decided it was time to take on the final boss in 2006. So that spring at age 34, with one week of planning, Sophia started the 29,000ft climb of Mount Everest in Nepal… the highest mountain in the world!
Sophia signed up for an “unguided” climb which gave her the help of two Sherpas, weather reports, food, and oxygen. Like a Boss, Sophia carried her own gear and pitched her own tent. Climbing high with pure Apex Human energy, she had no guide on the climb to make decisions for her. Finally, on May 19, 2006, after two months climbing, Sophia defeated the Final Boss and reached the summit of Mount Everest, making history along the way!
At the time of summit Sofia was suffering from bronchitis, a stuffed nose, frostbite on her cheeks and a clogged oxygen mask. However, none of these obstacles could prevent this Queen from etching her name in history!
Today Sophia continues to climb and is a living testament of what it means to elevate the bar, forever serving as an inspiration for young girls & boys who dare to dream, defy the status quo, and embrace ADVENTURE!