In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage


Product Details

$27.99  $26.03
Henry Holt & Company
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.2 X 1.2 inches | 1.14 pounds

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About the Author

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado is a humanitarian, mountaineer, explorer, social entrepreneur, and technologist living in San Francisco. In 2014, she launched Courageous Girls, a nonprofit that helps survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking with opportunities to find inner strength and cultivate their voices by demonstrating their physical strength. Courageous Girls has had projects in Nepal, India, the United States, and Peru. Vasquez-Lavado was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the Corporate Heroes of 2015. CNET named her one of the 20 Most Influential Latinos in Silicon Valley. She has also been recognized by the Peruvian government as one of the "Marca Peru" ambassadors (country brand ambassadors). She is a member of the Explorers Club and one of the few women in the world to complete the Seven Summits.


Silvia Vasquez-Lavado is a warrior. Her incredibly warm voice reveals how she rose from the darkest moments of her life to become an inspiration and advocate for others. This book is a testament to the power of extraordinary vulnerability, empathy, and selflessness and a reaffirmation of the healing that comes from building a community. I'm in awe of her strength and courage that she has captured so beautifully in this memoir.
--Selena Gomez

"Silvia Vasquez-Lavado is a woman possessed of uncommon strength, rare compassion, and a ferocious stubbornness to not allow the trauma of her childhood to destroy her life. In climbing the Seven Summits, she 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

Vasquez-Lavado understands that 'we do not conquer Everest, just like we do not conquer trauma. Instead, we must yield ourselves to the chasms and unexpected avalanches.' And herein lies the wisdom of this work, aptly subtitled 'A Memoir of Courage': In a world that demands us to harden, to tell stories of strength and triumph, the bravest act can be embracing our inner child, our fears, our truths.
-- Qian Julie Wang, author of New York Times bestseller Beautiful Country, for The New York Times

The climax of the book -- and Vasquez-Lavado's voyage up the mountain -- brings a moment of resolve to all three battles at once in a tear-jerking, Hollywood ending.
-- People

The book's chapters alternate between her enthralling life's journey and a nail-biting Mount Everest ascent.
-- The Washington Post's 10 noteworthy books for February

It's that drive to escape, to defy, that eventually pushes her up the macho corporate ladder at Silicon Valley start-ups, into alcoholism, and then across continents as a thrill-seeker breaking boundaries with her bare hands.
-- Sierra

This inspirational memoir about navigating trauma, healing relationships, finding community, and achieving self-acceptance delivers a raw and riveting reading experience.
--Booklist (Starred Review)

'In the Shadow of the Mountain' has all the elements a great memoir requires -- a strong voice, cinematic prose, a hero to root for -- in essence, an extraordinary story about an extraordinary woman's life.
-- The San Francisco Chronicle

Complex and compelling, Vasquez-Lavado's quest to heal herself from the deep wounds of patriarchy is also a vibrantly feminist celebration of female resilience.
--Kirkus Reviews

Unlike mountaineering memoirs that celebrate the ego of the individual climber, Silvia Vasquez-Lavado's story is intimately collaborative.
-- Catherine Hollis for BookPage

Vasquez-Lavado details the child's perspective and the roots of her trauma with extraordinary clarity.
-CBC Sports Book Review

"This is a truly invigorating and compelling story of a heroic healing journey to base camp at Mt. Everest."
--Ms. Magazine

"[Silvia's] personal story of the palliative effects of mountain climbing, which helped her rise above abuse, addiction, and marginalization, is a must-read. . . . She has written an inspiring manifesto for the women's empowerment movement worldwide."
--Hap Klopp, CEO and founder of The North Face

In Vasquez-Lavado's debut memoir, the narrative of her life--from horrific sexual abuse to immigration and professional success in San Francisco--beautifully mirrors her arduous but rewarding trip up each mountain. It's a testament to the power of high altitudes to help heal trauma, and a pretty great story to boot.

Making history is nothing new for adventurous mountaineer, explorer, entrepreneur, author, and activist Silvia Vasquez-Lavado
--Out Magazine

"Silvia Vasquez-Lavado's story gripped my heart. . . . What a beautiful and urgent offering."
--V (formerly Eve Ensler)