Sometimes, when I’m trying something new, I start to think something along the lines of “I’m too old to actually get any good at this.” For example, within the past year, I’ve started trying my hands at climbing, and it’s hard seeing all the younger people climbing significantly harder routes than me with no problem whatsoever. If I had started at their age, or even younger, then maybe, at this point, I’d be climbing much more difficult routes, but because I’m already as old as I am, I’ll never get there, right? Age definitely seems like a barrier in a lot of people’s lives, but seeing stories like Liliya Ianovskaia’s forces me to rethink that assumption. Also, I’m only 22, so I really need to stop thinking that and actually put my effort into getting good at things.
Canadian Liliya Ianovskaia is a good 40 years older than me, and there’s a good chance she’s a good bit older than you. The 62 years she’s lived on this Earth, however, have completely failed to stop her at completing some darn incredible accomplishments. On July 22nd, Ianovskaia became the oldest woman to summit K2 in Pakistan. Prior to her summit, the record was 52-years-old.
K2 was not her first 8,000 meter peak. In fact, it wasn’t even her first this year. On May 14th, Ianovskaia summited Mount Everest with her daughter Dasha. Prior to Everest, she’d summited both Cho Oyu and Manaslu between 2019 and 2022, and on August 8th of 2022, only a little more than two weeks after summiting K2, Liliya summited Garsherbrum II. As of now, she’s summited five of the fourteen peaks standing above 14,000 feet.
According to CBC, Liliya began her climbing career at age 50 after setting a series of goals to accomplish within a year. One of those goals was to run a marathon. In that first year, she ran three. In 2009, she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the 5,895 meter (19,340 feet) mountain located in Tanzania.
Ianovskaia’s 8,000 meter peak climbing journey is yet to come to an end, and in the spring of 2023, she plans to summit Kangchenjunga and Lhotse, the third and fourth highest mountains in the world.
“I feel like at this point of my life I can do so much more than I was able to do in my mid 30s. Keep training, stay positive, set up the goals and just go for it.” – Liliya Ianovskaia according to CBC
If you’ve ever set the goal of landing a backflip on skis, riding a double black, learning to surf of climb, or summiting one of the many peaks in this world that reaches towards the sky and thought, “nah, I’m told old to do that,” think of this story. Hit the gym, talk to experts, figure it out. You can make it happen.
Image Credit: Liliya Ianovskaia on Facebook