The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Sort Interviews by Affiliation or Theme

Stacy Allison Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

July 21, 2014


“From Oregon State to the Rooftop of the World”  July 21, 2014  Location: Allison residence, Portland, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Allison describes her upbringing on a farm near Woodburn, Oregon and her decision to attend OSU as a Nutrition major. From there she recounts the introduction to climbing that she received during her year as an Oregon State undergraduate, her exposure to the OSU Mountain Club, and her ultimate decision to leave school in favor of pursuing her passion for mountaineering.

The bulk of the session focuses on Allison's career in the mountains. She recalls her early climbing experiences and the development of her skills, then shares her memories of specific expeditions, including her experiences climbing Denali and Ama Dablam. In this, she also notes her impressions of the general advancement of women in climbing during the 1980s, including the manufacture of climbing gear designed specifically for women.

Allison then discusses her two expeditions to Mount Everest. She briefly describes her 1987 attempt, commenting on the fierce storm that led her climbing team to take refuge in a snow cave for five days and ultimately turn back short of the summit. She likewise recounts her second attempt, in September 1988, including details of her climb and the exhilaration that she felt upon reaching the summit, in the process becoming the first U.S. woman to arrive at the world's highest point.

The remainder of the interview is devoted primarily to Allison's career outside of mountain climbing, including her work as a motivational speaker and general contractor, and her affiliation with Climb for Clean Air/Reach the Summit. The session concludes with Allison's thoughts on leadership, her sense of the impact that OSU made on her life, and her advice for students of today.