Jenn Drummond Gives You Permission to Be Inspired
After this mother of seven miraculously survived a violent car crash, she found a new purpose in climbing high-altitude peaks
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Jenn Drummond shared her story with producer Sarah Vitak for an episode of The Daily Rally podcast. It was edited for length and clarity.
When you get in a car accident, those quick seconds turn into hours. I remember thinking, Only people who are relaxed survive. So I just kept telling myself: breathe, relax, breathe, relax.
My name is Jennifer Drummond, I normally go by the name Jenn. I am an investment advisor. I also spend time being a mom—I have seven children. They keep me extremely busy. I’m also working on this goal of being the first female to climb the seven second summits. Those are the second highest points on each continent.
So how all goals start, I think, is an evolution of things.
I was driving home from a little town called Heber, Utah, to Park City, Utah. I was at a stage in my life where I was just going and going and going, and just really not being intentional, like I typically am. It was late afternoon, December 18, 2018. Mile marker 11.
It was a randomly cold day. But the roads weren’t bad. It wasn’t bad weather by any means. It was sunny out.
I was coming up fast on a semi, we were coming up a hill. I was going into the faster lane. Then, at the same time, he was avoiding something on the side of the road. He had two trailers, that second trailer swung out and it hit my passenger side. And there, it happened.
The car is flipping three times end over end, and then ends up sliding in the median. I just remember when it came to a stop, all of a sudden, sound and the environment started returning. I heard this person yelling, “Are you okay? Are you okay?” I didn’t even know if I was okay. I didn’t even want to know, really. I was so afraid to look at my body. So I closed my eyes and wiggled my fingers and toes, and I could feel them. And I said, “I’m okay.” I actually still use that now. Whenever I’m overwhelmed on the mountain or somewhere else, I just close my eyes and wiggle my fingers and toes, and remind myself, I can feel my fingers and toes. I’m okay, life’s good. Let’s go.
I walked away pretty much unscathed. I did have seat belt damage. I have breast implants, so I had to have those changed because they got sliced by the pressure of the seatbelt. But I got a new car, new boobs, and a new lease on life. I mean, how good is that?
The police called me a few weeks after the accident. They said, “We just want to let you know, we rebuilt this accident at least 50 different times and could not come up with one scenario where you lived.” That call just really hit home. Those events really hit home. All of a sudden life, everything, is magic. My kids are fighting, and instead of me being mad that they’re fighting, I’m just in awe that they have two opinions that they care so fiercely about that they’re trying to convince the other person of it. I got a call from the principal’s office, and I just remember thinking, “I’m so glad I’m here to take this call. This is amazing.”
I would say the car accident was a real awakening in my life. I lived under the impression that I always had time. I was very invested in my children and kept telling myself the story that when they go to college, then I can get back to me. That car accident really woke me up and said, “Hey, listen, you have your life to live, you’re going to check out of this place by yourself. What is your story? What does your obituary say?” That really shifted me and just made me realize, if I live an inspired life and change my goals, I’m giving permission to everybody else, including my children, to do the same.
One of the things I wanted to do was climb a mountain. I had decided to climb a mountain called Ama Dablam, located in Nepal, for my 40th birthday. I was training for that, then COVID happened. My son was complaining about some math homework that he had. I said, “Listen, buddy, we do hard things.” He said, “If we do hard things, then why aren’t you climbing Mount Everest?” And I said, “You know what? Let’s look into Mount Everest. You finish your math homework.” So we started researching Mount Everest, and something inside me lit up.
I called my coach and half jokingly said, “Hey, listen, my kids learned how to read on the Guinness World Records. Please find something for me. They’ll think I’m cool.” He came up with the seven second summits. They had not been done by a female before. It takes you to the seven continents, and I love to travel. I have seven children so they each picked a mountain that they thought would represent who they were. And on came the quest.
My first mountain of the seven second summits was in December of 2020. I climbed Ojos del Salado in Chile. I went to climb Mount Kenya next. Then I climbed Everest in May of 2021, kind of as training grounds for K2. Everest was a success. My first attempt at K2 was not.
We had had a number of things go wrong on the expedition. Oxygen bottles were not there, fuel was low, the support staff were not feeling healthy. So there weren’t as many people with us on the mountain. Then, one of our teammates got caught in an avalanche and passed away.
When we got the radio call, I stopped, I closed my eyes. I wiggled my fingers and toes. I’m like, “I’m alive. I’m here. I’m going down. And I’ll come back another time.”
The mountains are always there. It’s our life that is not. And it’s so precious and so important to just honor what you’re feeling and what feels right to you.
Jenn Drummond lives in Park City, Utah, where she is a mom, entrepreneur, and mountaineer. She is attempting to be the first woman to climb the seven second summits. She has completed five and has two left to go. Learn more about her at boldbravebeautiful.com.
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