A Quest To Climb All 7 Summits

May 4, 2020

The first Iowa woman to summit Mount Everest back in 2016 is on a mission to climb all seven of the highest peaks in the world.

The 7 summit seeker has one left – Mount Vinson on the continent of Antarctica. The mountain peaks at 4,892 meters or 16,050 feet high, and Iowa native and climber, Jen Loeb, is hoping to conquer her expedition in November of 2021.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Jen Loeb about her new book, “Shots from the Heart.” In the book, Loeb’s breathtaking photos and journal excerpts can take the reader all around the world at a time when travel is impossible.

Ama Dabalm
Credit Jen Loeb

In the conversation, we look at how Loeb was bitten by the travel bug. She says she fell in love with mountain climbing while backpacking in her 20s. During one of her outings, she spotted climbers in the distance and it sparked her interest. With little experience, Loeb set a goal and ventured to California to climb Mount Whitney in 2010.  

“It was harder than I expected,” says Loeb. “I got home when that trip was over and you forget about the bad parts … the parts that were uncomfortable, maybe scary and then you remember all the good parts, like how much fun it was, the views and the time spent with friends.”

After Mount Whitney, Loeb looked at what steps to take for a new excursion: Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. However, she was concerned not knowing how her body would react to the altitude. She completed the climb in 2011, and upon her return signed up for mountain climbing school.

From there Loeb says she learned the basics on Mount Rainier. She says the more she climbed and the more she ventured across the globe, she got hooked on the challenges of mountain climbing. Loeb continued to climb and gather experience until she was ready for Mount Everest. Being part of a team of climbers, Loeb completed her climb up the highest of the 7 summits in 2016.   

Mount Everest (left), Lhotse (middle), Nuptse (right) and the basecamp at the bottom.
Credit Jen Loeb

Loeb’s book consists of five chapters, each dedicated to a specific theme. The first chapter displays images from the six summits Loeb has climbed so far, followed by smaller mountain ranges and peaks. The third chapter highlights her volunteer and humanitarian work. The final part of the book gives the reader a look at Iowa.

Loeb included her home state because she feels it doesn’t get the credit it deserves for its beauty, and she doesn’t subscribe to the adage of Iowa being a flyover state.

“I think it’s really beautiful here,” says Loeb. “I want people to appreciate the beauty that is Iowa.”

Loeb says “Shots from fhe Heart” is currently set for one production of publication. Amid concerns about food shortages during the coronavirus pandemic, ten percent of Loeb’s book sales will be donated to Grow: Johnson County.


  • Jen Loeb, climber, photographer, humanitarian