Mountains Summitted


Countries Visited


Poles Reached


Depths Reached


Feet Climbed

Vanessa O’Brien, is a British mountaineer and an American mountaineer (as a result of her dual nationality), explorer, aquanaut, author, and public speaker.

Vanessa is the First Woman to Reach Earth’s Highest and Lowest Points, a Guinness World Record she received after summiting Mt. Everest (8,848m) in 2012 and diving in a submersible to the eastern pool of Challenger Deep (10,925m) in 2020. She became the first American woman to summit K2 and the first British woman to successfully summit K2, receiving Explorer of the Year by the SES in 2018. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and an Honorary Board Member of the Scientific Exploration Society (SES).

She has climbed the highest peak on every continent and has a Guinness World Record for doing so in 295 days, setting a record for the fastest time a woman first achieved this goal. Vanessa has also skied the last 60 nautical miles or 111 km to the South Pole and North Pole completing the Explorers Grand Slam in 11 months, becoming the first woman to do so in under a calendar year and the 8th woman in the world to accomplish this.

After receiving her BA from New York University, Vanessa joined the Financial Management Program at GE Capital. After graduating from the FMP program and winning the Pinnacle Award for outstanding performance, GE Capital sponsored Vanessa for an Executive MBA in Finance at the Stern School of Business, New York University. After GE Capital, Vanessa contributed to Capital One before moving overseas to hold various London-based positions as the Director of Finance and Business Development for Morgan Stanley, Barclays Bank, and the Bank of America.

See a list of countries I have visited below:

Fun Facts

  • Licensed Class II Aesthetician

    Vanessa is a licensed Class II Aesthetician licensed by the Board of Cosmetology under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

  • Certified Divemaster

    Vanessa is a certified Divemaster.

  • Sagittarius

    Vanessa is a Sagittarius with Taurus rising and a moon in Scorpio.  She was born in the Year of the Dragon.

  • "Banessa"

    Vanessa’s Starbucks name is Banessa…what’s yours?