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Klára Kolouchová

Born in Prague (*1978) but not exactly baptized by still waters of the Vltava river. Up until 4 years of age I had relished the joy of being an only child, making everybody busy, they say. Toys were able to keep me captivated for five minutes, then throw’em out – What else do you have up your sleeves, dear mom and pop? Things changed when my sister Denisa was born. Suddenly I had to fight hard for my place in the sun, and that’s what seems to have shaped me up forever. Weird sisters endowed me with enthusiasm for whatever I take up to do, with curiosity, quest after knowledge, aspiration to discover – all in all: with desire to grab life by the throat. My enthusiasm is contagious and my appetite for ever new adventures is said to be anchored in boundless optimism. But here’s more to it than craving for adventure and things still new, it’s also about searching for and finding peace of mind, getting to understand inescapable aspects of life and grasping the whole sense thereof. Don’t take me wrong, I do know how to rest … for a while, that is, only to set sail again in pursuit of yet something new. Challenge is the magic word that will grab my attention; that is my weak point – or is it my strength?!

Having attended grade school focused on foreign languages and high school of classical curriculum I proceeded to study at – and graduate from – the Anglo-American College in Prague, majoring in business management. My excellent grasp of English was a springboard for me to reach the position of PR manager at international companies whilst I was still a student. Then came the big leap forward: four-year contract for a job in London which can best be encapsulated by the lyrics of the popular song “meeting, briefing, brainstorming”. I climbed the corporate ladder from an advertising agency employee to an executive at local government in London, charged with the agenda of HR. Since I love being pressed for time, I began to practice hard for high mountains, no matter how flat the London area is. My two daredevils – the yellow chopper and the cultic Mini Cooper – were zigzagging between my workplace, the running track, the pool, and the gym. I never used them to take me from home to work, though; that one was a daily jogging exercise for me & my backpack full of PET bottles of water. Perfect preparation for my first hypothetical high mountain.

It was to be Aconcagua (6,962 m) in South America, the highest mountain on a continent, and I climbed it in in 2005. A year later I became the second Czech woman in history to climb the Himalayan eight-thousander Cho Oyu. That put me on the guest list for the highest mountain on Earth. I was to team up with Sherpa Tashi Tenzing, grandson of the one and only Tenzing Norgay who literally made history in 1953. Back to training, back to frenetic logistics… rewarded by an accomplishment beyond imagination – May 16, 2007 – the first Czech woman on top of Mount Everest!

Next came the motherhood which should be a phase of calming down, but it was the proverbial calm before the storm. In April of 2008 I gave birth to Emma, my daughter. Listen, what is life about, really? I was breast-feeding in breaks between business appointments and meetings in a prestigious consultancy firm, but first and foremost I was a mother and there were two of us to cope with life – me and the amazing Emma. She even permitted me to go to Himalayas one more time. Alas, in the summer of 2011 the beautiful Ama Dablam allowed nobody to even catch a glimpse of it, let alone to climb it – there was no end to heavy snowfall. What did go well, though, was Mc Kinley in North America, i.e. another highest peak on a continent, followed by Elbrus – the giant of Europe; all of this in the course of 2013. Back then I already had Martin as my teammate – and my mate he’s continued to be.

Maiden name Poláčková turned into Kolouchová and yet another life stage began – a boy was born, and Emma could sing along with The Cure: “Boys don’t cry!” Cyril’s day of birth was mighty symbolic: May 16, 2014 – he’s got “my” Everest in his DNA. Well, now I am finally nicely “unemployed”. I ride a mountain bike pulling a child-trailer with Cyril inside. I am barely beginning to learn how to play golf but I certainly have fun exploring these new disciplines. I certainly don’t neglect my tennis either, plus I expanded the scope of my skiing to include ski mountaineering. As always, what gives me best relaxation is theater, movies, ballet, opera, and a good book – or a good bunch of friends. Main thing is: be constantly on the move; something needs to be happening all the time.