INSPIRED BY THE MOUNTAINS
Katja Staartjes is one of the most successful mountaineers in the Netherlands. She has climbed a number of peaks higher than 8,000 metres. She was the first Dutch woman to climb Mount Everest (8,848 m), and together with Henk Wesselius, the first Dutch mountaineers to climb Gasherbrum 1 (8068 m) and the fore-summit of Manaslu (8140 m). In 2013 they completed the full Upper Great Himalaya Trail of 1600 kilometres through the Nepalese Himalayas. Katja Staartjes inspires organisations as a keynote speaker with her powerfull experiences and photos. She draws clear parallels between mountain-climbing and familiar – often equally challenging – issues from daily life. Katja has fulfilled different senior management roles and currently works as a trainer and coach. She is the author of three books, one of them has been translated into English under the title Peak Performance.
In june 2015, Katja has been nominated as Nepal Goodwill Ambassador by the Nepalese government, together with 16 other international mountaineers, like Reinhold Messner, Jamling Tenzing, Peter Hillary, Ralf Dujmovits and Edurne Pasaban, to stimulate tourism in the country and helping to rebuild the country.
Katja: “It was by happy accident that I discovered that my passion lies in the mountains. I like the majesty of nature in the mountains, the physical activity and having a clear goal. In the silence of the peaks I get perspective on the hectic of daily life; reflecting on and clarifying what is really important to me. And it’s a unique experience to see what a strong bond develops with your teammates. You’re dependent on each other, living together in often very demanding circumstances. That takes close cooperation, and is very motivational.”
In 1994 Katja went for the first time to the Himalayas, in 1998 she participated in a Dutch expedition to Cho Oyu (8,201 m). Her climb of Mount Everest followed in 1999. These adventures provided Katja the experience to be able to undertake expeditions independently. Her regular expedition partner is her husband, Henk Wesselius. Their last project has been an expedition to Gurla Mandhata, which has been stopped abrupt because of the devastating earthquake in Nepal.
CV – Mountaineering
– 2015: Gurla Mandhata (7694 m) – broken off by the earthquake in Nepal
– 2011 – 2013: Nepal Traverse (2000 km): completing the Upper Great Himalaya Trail (1600 km) + extra part in Far West of Nepal
– 2008: Manaslu (8163 m) – Nepal, fore summit 8140 m (a Dutch first, together with Henk Wesselius)
– 2006: Dhaulagiri (8167 m) – Nepal, till 7700 m
– 2004: Gasherbrum 1 (8068 m) – Pakistan (a Dutch first, with Henk Wesselius)
– 2003: Ama Dablam (6856 m) – Nepal
– 2001: Urus, Ishinca, Copa, Tocllaraju (6134 m) – Peru
– 1999: Mount Everest (8848 m) – Nepal (first Dutch woman)
– 1998: Cho Oyu (8201 m) – Tibet
– 1995: Mera Peak (6461 m) – Nepal
– 1994: Damphus Peak (6000 m) – Nepal
– Alps: regular climbs like Salbit sudgrat, Salbitzahn, Aig. Verte Whymper, Aig./Traversee du Plan, Tour Ronde, Chapelle de la Gliere, Arête Cosmiques, Arete Rochefort, Bianco grat, etc.
– Scotland: regular iceclimbs like Smith’s Gully, Beinn an Dothaidh Taxus (Creag Meagaidh), Central Gully, Comb Gully buttress, Green Gully (Ben Nevis), etc.