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 has an incredible five Guinness World Records: First, Fastest, Deepest, Farthest and Oldest.  Vanessa is the first woman to reach earth’s highest (Mt. Everest 8,848m) and lowest points (Challenger Deep 10,925m), the fastest woman to climb the seven summits in 295 days, the first person to reach the top of Chimborazo and the depths of Challenger Deep at 35,843 feet for a full three hours of bottom time, the first woman to complete the Four Poles Challenge, going the farthest north * south * east * west from to the Top of Everest to Challenger Deep to the geographic north and south poles, and the oldest woman to summit K2, the second tallest peak at 8,611m at 52 years old.

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?