Fewer than 100 women have climbed the Seven Summits, the highest peaks in each of the seven continents. Julie McKelvey is attempting to count herself among this elite group.
Julie began climbing at the invitation of her father, a long-time extreme sports enthusiast. After climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan with her father, she convinced some friends to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with her. One of her guides asked if she had thought about climbing The Seven Summits. She researched and connected with a company that specialized in helping adventurers climb these formidable peaks, then headed to Mount Elbrus in Russia. On her next climb, she experienced altitude sickness on Aconcagua in South America. She has sinced climbed the highest peak in Antarctica, Mt. Vinson.
Julie trains six days a week, 25 to 30 hours total. She drives to Hawk Mountain, about an hour northeast of Harrisburg, trekking multiple times up and down the mountain with a 60-pound pack. Closer to home, there’s strength training.
Julie's day job is managing a Miracle Ear hearing aid franchise in Harrisburg. Before joining the hearing aid business in 1993, Julie was in the radio and TV industry.
Julie has also created Summit for Sound, a foundation that provides hearing aids to adults and children who otherwise couldn’t afford them. All money raised through the climbs goes to the foundation. The Kilimanjaro climb raised $50,000.