Finding Elevation

Fear and Courage on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain

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Pub Date 10 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 09 Jan 2023
Girl Friday Productions, Girl Friday Books

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Near the death zone on K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, Lisa Thompson searched for the strength to continue climbing. Her choices were clear: give in to her doubts and descend or push past her own limits and continue up the mountain’s steep face. 

Defiance had provoked Thompson to enter the male-dominated world of high-altitude mountaineering, but defiance could only take her so far. After a harrowing battle with cancer, Lisa realized she needed to understand what motivated her to take greater and greater risks in the mountains. Finding Elevation chronicles Thompson’s path from novice climber to world-class mountaineer, as she becomes the second American woman to summit K2, which is considered by many to be the most dangerous mountain in the world. 

More than a climbing memoir, Finding Elevation is a deeply personal examination of motivation and the human spirit. It is a story of what can happen when we finally stop letting others define our limits and instead trust that we are capable of more. In this inspiring book, Thompson reaches beyond the mountain to tell a story of heartbreak, resilience, and the discovery that we are responsible for defining our own boundaries, finding our own happiness, and facing our fears head-on.

Near the death zone on K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, Lisa Thompson searched for the strength to continue climbing. Her choices were clear: give in to her doubts and descend or push past...

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Advance Praise

“Beautifully written, Lisa Thompson’s Finding Elevation takes us through her story arc that anyone climbing a physical or proverbial mountain can relate to. From frustration to despondency, leading to hope, exploration, and self-discovery, Lisa inspires us not to give in to our doubts. With every step, deep breath, and occasional fall, she motivates us with the tools to push past our limits and find the courage to decide who we want to be despite the challenges and obstacles so prevalent in our lives.” —Chuck Garcia, CEO of Climb Leadership International, adjunct professor at Columbia University, and amateur mountaineer 

“An honest and gripping look at the world of high-altitude mountaineering by one of America’s finest alpinists.” —Johanna Garton, author of Edge of the Map 

“Thompson gives readers an intimate view into the world of high-altitude mountaineering. She writes honestly about struggling to balance fear while exploring her own limits.”  —Garrett Madison, world’s premier Everest guide and expedition leader 

“Beautifully written, Lisa Thompson’s Finding Elevation takes us through her story arc that anyone climbing a physical or proverbial mountain can relate to. From frustration to despondency, leading...

Marketing Plan

Prepublication buzz campaign

Digital galley distribution on Edelweiss and NetGalley

Trade advertising

Target outreach to media, blogs, podcasts

Author has pending partnership with Title Nine (athletic wear company) that will include blog posts, social media and in-store events

Pre-order campaign to author's email database

Author website:

Listing and pricing promotions run through GFB's Aerio store

Social media posts to support pre-order, book launch, and book reviews to authors combined 10k social media followers

Author will incorporate the book as part of her future speaking engagements

Author is leading an all-women charity climb of Cholatse in Nepal in November '22 , which is receiving significant media attention.

Prepublication buzz campaign

Digital galley distribution on Edelweiss and NetGalley

Trade advertising

Target outreach to media, blogs, podcasts

Author has pending partnership with Title Nine (athletic...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781954854673
PRICE $25.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

I read a lot of books on mountaineering. Ever since reading Into Thin Air, it's a sport that I find very intriguing, but am definitely too afraid to actually do despite enjoying other endurance activities. Most books are written by third parties and focus on deaths and severe hardships of tackling the world's highest peaks. This book represents a refreshing change to the genre. First, it's a memoir, and written by a woman. She brings a fresh perspective! Her focus is much more on the "why" of climbing, which is something I'm very curious about. Why risk your life to stand on top of a mountain?

Lisa shares these psychological aspects of the sport in edition to sharing her experience of climbing K2, arguably the hardest mountain to tackle. She's an engaging storyteller, and I read this book in just a few days. The suspense is mitigated a bit by the fact that you know she survives to "tell the tale", but it was offset by her personal story of growing up in a family where she never quite felt she was enough.

Very good and unique addition to the books exploring this sport.

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A life of adventures

"Tenuously standing thousands of feet above Seattle forced me to release control. Not to lose it, but to release it to a mountain that would always be bigger and fiercer than me. With control out of the way that morning, I felt its counterbalance: freedom."

Lisa Thompson didn't grow up in the mountains. Instead, in her home state of Illinois, she spent her days exploring woods and cornfields. The first person in her family to go to college, she became an engineer and moved to Seattle. It is there that she started climbing mountains, ultimately climbing Mount Everest, completing the seven summits and being the second American woman to summit K2. In this book, she shares how she got drawn to climbing mountains.

I really enjoyed Lisa's life story, especially the 8000m peaks she summited and her struggle with self worth and self doubt, as well as her fight with cancer. Her writing is quite captivating. I wish she'd also mention her other mountaineering feats in the book, as it mostly covers the pacific northwest, Manaslu, Everest and K2. She never really even mentions completing the seven summits. Overall, this a fascinating book for those who enjoy reading about mountaineering.

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I love a good nonfiction book, but lately I’ve struggled with rating my reading experience. I read for enjoyment. Rating a true story feels like judging. But who am I to judge? All I will ever climb are stairs and here I am writing down my 5 cents about tough mountaineer? Ha!

But it’s fine. Completely fine. Because I loved every page of “finding elevation” and as picky a reader I can be, here I came across a fantastic read.

The author grabs your attention right from the start. The writing is outstanding! A story of heartbreak, struggle and suffering. But also a story about passion, determination and success. Lisa wrote about relationships as well and here I felt so much raw emotion. But she writes with honesty and respect, such a rare, beautiful combination. I rooted for her, but there’s no need. She wins multiple battles AND wrote a book about it that is just awesome. Go ahead and read it.

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Superb read. Not only is Lisa Thompson an incredible Inspiration for climbers and women everywhere, she is also a wonderful writer. She overcame many challenges to complete her epic climbs on Everest and K2. Highly recommended. Five stars!

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I wanted to thank NetGalley and Girl Friday Books for an arc of Finding Elevation: Fear and Courage on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain by Lisa Thompson. Going into this book, I was intrigued because if was about a female climbing the tallest mountains in the world. I was fascinated by Lisa’s perspective and her perseverance through some of the hardest life challenges as well as some of the most physically demanding challenges in mountaineering. I was captivated the whole time and enjoyed hearing her story. If you are looking for a book on perseverance and never giving up, this would be a good book for you. This book comes out early January 2023.

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If you like non fiction mountain climbing adventure. This is the book for you. I have never climbed a Mt and probably won’t, but I love a good survival story. Highly recommend this book.

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I have been using the Everest 1996 disaster case in my organizational behaviour classroom since almost 2013. Over time I have grown extremely curious and passionate about the whole craze now about summiting mount everest. I was also very curious about what makes one take such potentially fatal risks and whether their personalities are any different from normal people. Some of my students have gone to the base camp and one also invited me to go with him!

The above is the reason that as soon as I read the title and the description of the book by Lisa Thompson, I just hit the request button. I am so happy that the publisher obliged almost immediately. I put all my other books in queue and picked Finding Elevation up.

As I read through I realized I could not put the kindle down! I had to be with Lisa through her journey. At first I was disappointed since the story seemed to be about summitting K2, but as I progressed I was drawn in to her grit and determination and reasons on why she took up mountaineering. I realized everest was also part of her story, and one that she summitted before K2. I also learnt that K2 is far more treacherous than Everest! Now my interest about K2 was piqued. It was amazing to learn that Lisa went to Everest after fighting and surviving breast cancer. That is so inspiring. She also fought and faced gender related issues both in her office and some feelings during her mountaineering. It was inspiring to learn how she kept going up the difficult slopes of K2 and overcoming self-doubt at many instances.

This book is a truly inspiring piece. Not only does it have lessons of overcoming personal issues, health or family, overcoming self-doubt, not being overcome with pride at great achievements and much more. I highly recommend this book to everyone for its learnings.

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Finding Elevation by Lisa Thompson is a truly riveting book. And it is not just about Thompson's summits of various of the world's most challenging mountains, but it is a memoir that takes an intimate evaluation of her marriage, her closeness to her sister and especially to her father, her successful battle with cancer, and her climb to conquer and summit one of the most terrifying mountains on earth, K2.

Thompson's voice could not be more true and free from ego. Unlike many first-person narratives, hers is clear, honest, and yet passionate. Her candid, incisive, and sometimes technical account of the details of her climb to the top of the dangerous K2 are what support her resilience, determination, and ultimately her success. Having read a number of climbing books, I insist that this one stands alone in its clarity and inspiration. By the end of the book, the reader not only has vast admiration for the person Thompson is but vast admiration for her prodigious physical and mental strength and how well she knows herself.

Thanks to Girl Friday Publications and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this amazing book.

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Lisa has written an emotional moving open real look at her life.She shares her battle with cancer difficult relationships and her awe inspiring bravery I’m petrified of heights and Lisa. Limbs to the highest elevation facing danger obstacles but she forges on.Brave is an understatement for the way she lives her life.#netgalley #girlfriday

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Finding Elevation: Fear and Courage on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain
By: Lisa Thompson

eARC & Book Review
Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐️
Pub Date: January 10, 2023

I’m going to start this out by saying that I am not any sort of mountaineer or have ever considered high-altitude mountaineering. The only tidbits of information I know about it have come from fictional thrillers that I’ve read.

With that being said, this memoir was absolutely incredible. It was informative, inspiring, and I could not put it down.

Finding Elevation is the story of Lisa Thompson and her experience going from being a novice climber to being a world-class mountaineer. It follows her life and climbs spanning over many years, including her trek up Mount Everest and her battle with breast cancer. The latter half of the memoir is about her experience climbing K2, which, to many, is considered to be the most dangerous mountain in the world.

More than a climbing memoir, Finding Elevation touches on real life, relatable experiences and is a story of what can happen when we stop letting others define our limits, but instead trust that we are capable of more.

As I mentioned earlier, this book was incredible. Knowing little to nothing about mountaineering, I wasn’t sure if this would leave me in over my head or not. It did not. Thompson did an excellent job of explaining the sport, without using too much jargon. Additionally, it was a memoir that I could connect with. Many of her thoughts and (non-climbing) experiences I could resonate with. And, to be honest, it has left me so much more interested in the world of mountaineering.

Lisa Thompson, you’re a rockstar ⭐️

Thank you NetGalley, Girl Friday Production/Girl Friday Books, and Lisa Thompson for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Lisa Thompson became the second American woman to reach the summit of K2, considered to be the world’s most dangerous mountain. Having read several books on other attempts at climbing this peak (some successful, some not) I was intrigued to learn more about her story and for the most part, it was excellent reading.

The only downfall to this book for me was something that was important to her story - the struggles that she faced outside of climbing that could have been hindrances to her goal of not only claiming K2, but also Mt. Everest; that expedition is documented in the book, but not with as much detail. While her victory over breast cancer was inspiring, reading about her failed relationships in both her family and in her marriage that ended in divorce felt more about self-pity than courage. While it was great that was able to push the, to the side during her climb, reading about it was a downer that seemed to get sadder as it went along.

But just like Thompson, if the reader can get past them and keep reading, they will be in for a treat. If that reader has a basic understanding or knowledge of mountaineering or the layout of K2, that is helpful but not necessary as Thompson writes in a manner that even non-climbers will understand. Her style of describing the K2 expedition is wonderful. She touches on how to deal with the male-dominated world of climbing without sounding bitter or snarky. Her bond with two other climbers, including the only other female on the trip, was fine as the reader will get to know them quite well. I really enjoyed her descriptions of the camps at various points, including base camp.

During both expeditions, but especially the one on K2, the book reads like a well-written drama even though the ending will already be known. That is what makes this mountaineering book one to include in one’s library - even more than the historical or inspirational aspects. It is just a fine story to tell.

I wish to thank Girl Friday Books for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Big thanks to both Girl Friday Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an early copy of Finding Elevation.

This was an absolutely riveting book to read!  Anyone who is worried it will turn out to be a dry textbook can rest easy.  There was so much heart in this book, going back to when the author grew up in Illinois and then moving forward.  

After she moved to Seattle, Lisa climbed Mt. Rainier and found herself totally hooked on mountaineering.  She trained to summit Mt. Everest after undergoing a bilateral mastectomy for stage 4 breast cancer!  Then, after she had successfully summited Mt Everest, Lisa elected to aim even higher (although it's actually shorter than Everest) and go for K2, considered to be the world's most dangerous mountain.  After a climb that goes far past the word HARROWING, the author became the second American woman to reach the summit of K2!  The photos in the book are stunning and scary!

Finding Elevation was never boring.  I highly recommend it!!

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Lisa Thompson takes readers to the top of the world's highest and most dangerous peaks as she summits Mt. Everest and K2, in this beautifully written memoir that reveals both vulnerability and fierce spirit. Her battle over breast cancer equally inspires. As Lisa climbs impossible mountains, she finally realizes why she does it: To transform herself. That's the question I've always pondered about this high-risk sport.

A must-read for those who climb, those who wish they could, and those relieved that they will never have to.

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