#RUGGEDSTORIES: THIS GIRL RIDES MOTORBIKES, PARAGLIDES AND HAS CLIMBED MT. EVEREST

Normally she’s in the air or up a mountain but we managed to pin down all-round adventure girl Squash Falconer long enough to tell us how she does it.

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Job: Professional adventurer

Age: 35

Hazards of the job: Crevasses, canopy collapses, crashes – exhaustion!

Favourite App: Suunto Movescount

Phone for the job: Cat® S60

How did you get the name Squash?

When I was born my sister couldn’t say my real name so she called me ‘Ease’, then ‘Peas’ then ‘Squashy Peas’, then just Squash. It’s supposed to be Louise but everyone calls me by my nickname.

What sports are you into?

Skiing, paragliding, mountaineering, cycling, motorcycling, hiking, running…

I grew up on a farm and always loved bikes

How did it all come together?

I grew up on a farm and always absolutely loved bikes. After my test I had this dream to ride to the French Alps riding over mountain passes and long winding roads. A few years later I did my Mt. Blanc trip.

What was that?

It was three dreams rolled into one: I wanted to ride a motorbike to the south of France. I wanted to climb Mt. Blanc (the highest mountain in the western Alps). And when I learnt to paraglide, I thought to myself that I’d love to fly off a high mountain. So I thought I’d ride my bike to the foot of Mt. Blanc, climb the peak and then fly off the top. I didn’t really think I’d be able to do it! Against all odds I managed it and was the first British woman to do so, in 2009.

Watch Squash hike and fly from the summit of Mt. Blanc.

And then you climbed Mt. Everest!

Yes, two years later. It was actually a summit I didn’t always want to do. In 2008 I climbed Cho Oyu, my first 8,000m peak and thought afterwards there’s just no way I could climb Mt. Everest. It’s such a big mountain I didn’t think I had it in me. But one of the guys on the team at the time said I was strong enough. Deep down that planted a seed.

The weather on the summit was terrible and howling with wind.

How did you pay for it?

I got a loan. I thought of it like a student loan and this would be my university. It took me four years to pay it off.

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On the summit of Mt. Everest in 2011: too dangerous to fly. ©Flo Tomlinson

And you wanted to fly from the summit?

The whole concept was that I wanted to be the first woman in the world to fly off the top so my paraglider came with me but the weather was too terrible to fly – it was snowing, howling with wind, there was no visibility. To be honest, making the summit and getting down safely was enough.

What comms set-up do you have?

When I’m mountaineering or motorbiking obviously weight and space is really crucial to me. One of the biggest things is being able to document what I’m doing – something that’s photo, communications and can withstand the environment that I’m in. I need a one stop shop for that – and that’s where Cat phones fit beautifully. If I’m off-roading, paragliding or up a mountain I don’t want to have to think about my phone.

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Squash is also a big fan of her BMW. ©Jessica Wardwell

What have you used previously?

I love the iPhone but I’ve dropped and smashed it so many times it drives me mad. You want to take a picture when you’re in a precarious place, often on a ledge or somewhere awkward – and that’s when you drop it.

Anything you never leave home without?

My emergency charger: It’s a hand crank called the Tex Energy Infinite Orbit. Ten minutes of cranking gives enough to make an emergency call. It’s the ultimate back up.

Favourite App?

Instagram, the GoPro app and Movescount. It creates a route video from my Suunto GPS watch – that one I love.

Lastly, what’s next?

I’m doing loads of ski touring now in Tignes, where I live and am running some camps next year. It’s amazing backcountry.

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Squash standing atop Mean Martin (3,330m), the high point of a ski tour. ©Floss Cockle / FreeFlo

Phone for the job?

Squash needs a phone that’s drop-proof, survives high altitude and lets her document her adventures. And one that has the battery to stay the distance. We recommend the Cat S60.

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