Elise Wortley, woman with altitude, journalist, writer, explorer, Alexandra David-Neel

ABOUT

Elise Wortley is an adventurer, writer and presenter, on a mission to redefine what it means to be an explorer. Her on-going project, Woman with Altitude, has received widespread media attention and her writing has featured in outlets such as The Guardian and The Telegraph. Elise has presented on primetime BBC television, and was recently chosen by Bear Grylls as one of his adventure “heroes”. 

After reading Alexandra David-Néel’s book My Journey to Lhasa at the age of 16, Elise became obsessed with the stories of history's female explorers that she had never been taught about at school. The book recounts the final six months of Alexandra's epic 14 year journey through Asia, her quest to reach the forbidden city of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Against all odds, dressed as a poor pilgrim, she reached Lhasa in 1924.

12 years after reading this book, and still wondering just how Alexandra managed to achieve what she did, dealing with the cold, the wet, illness and of course the constant pressure and difficulty that came with being a female traveller in the early 1900s, Elise decided to act on a wild idea that had always been at the back of her mind. Setting off to India, with the hope to give a new life to Alexandra's story, Elise decided to follow in Alexandra's footsteps, taking with her only the equipment and clothing Alexandra had at the time.

 

So with a yak wool coat, a wooden backpack made out of an old chair and an all-female team in tow, Elise set off in search of a special cave, the worlds third highest mountain and answers to questions she'd had for the last 12 years. 

After returning from this life-changing first expedition, Elise realised that the stories and achievements of histories female adventurers like Alexandra should be celebrated and never forgotten. She's made it her mission to bring these stories back to life, to inspire others the same way they have inspired her.

The Journeys so Far:

JOURNEY 1: ALEXANDRA DAVID-NEEL - The Himalaya, Sikkim, India

JOURNEY 2: NAN SHEPHERD - The Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland

JOURNEY 3: FREYA STARK - The Valleys of the Assassins, Iran

JOURNEY 4: JANE INGLIS CLARK - West Scotland