On Saturday, 8/20 ACW will present mountaineer, entrepreneur, and humanitarian, SILVIA VASQUEZ-LAVADO, the first Peruvian woman to climb Mt. Everest, and the first openly gay woman to climb The Seven Summits (the highest mountains on each of the 7 continents). Her debut memoir, IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOUNTAIN (Henry Holt, 2022) tells the story of how an early life of abuse and addiction led her to discover hiking as a method of healing. These pursuits transformed her life and empowered her to not only climb the world’s most challenging summits, but also to found the non-profit, Courageous Girls “…dedicated to healing and empowering survivors of violence and abuse through adventures in nature.” Her memoir is currently being adapted into a major motion picture starring Selena Gomez.

Vasquez-Lavado will be in conversation with an interviewer on stage. She will answer questions from the audience and sign books after the event.


SILVIA VASQUEZ-LAVADO was born and raised in Lima, Peru as a child she endured a period of sexual violence that would haunt her for much of her adult life. Nearly 30 years later, while attending a meditation retreat in Peru, she had a vision of reconnecting to her inner child and the two of them walking in a valley surrounded by mountains. This propelled her to journey through the Himalayas and reach the base of Mount Everest. It was a revelation –“The shadow of the mountain was the only thing big enough to swallow my shadow.” Silvia developed a sense of resilience, strength, compassion – and finally rediscovered her courage.

Who is Silvia Vasquez-Lavado?

*She’s the author of the debut memoir: In The Shadow of the Mountain (Henry Holt, 2022)

*She’s the first Peruvian woman to climb Mt. Everest

*She’s the first openly gay woman to climb the Seven Summits

*She’s the founder of Courageous Girls, a nonprofit for helping young women heal from trauma through hiking and mountain climbing

*Her story is being turned into a movie starring Selena Gomez

“In climbing the Seven Summits, Silvia Vasquez-Lavado did nothing less than take back her own life—one brave step at a time. She will inspire untold numbers of souls with this story, for her victory is a win on behalf of all of us.”—Elizabeth Gilbert