Are you ever scared?
The night before going onto a mountain I get nervous. You are sleeping at a hotel or hostel at the base. All you can do is look up and wonder how you are ever going to get to the top. I'm always nervous on summit day, too, until I get started and realize it's just taking one step at a time.
What has been your most enjoyable climb?
It was Mount Elbrus in 2008. It's the highest peak in Europe, challenging, but not overly technical. There were four Americans, three Spaniards, two Germans and an Indian in our group. Not everyone spoke English, but we all worked together, sharing equipment and food.
On summit day, you get up at 2 a.m., layer up, put on your headlamp and know that you'll have 10 to 11 hours of climbing ahead of you. The scenery could not have been more beautiful. It was a good team. I was in great shape and I got into a good rhythm.
You haven't climbed this year. Why?
In 2011, I was climbing ice walls and jumping over crevasses and walking along narrow snowdrifts with 1,000-foot drops and I thought about my daughter. I now have two daughters under 2 years old. It was time to do the responsible thing and slow down for a bit. I will climb smaller peaks, backpack and just enjoy the outdoors until they are older.