Katie-Jane L'Herpiniere

Who am i?

British Adventurer | Speaker | Blogger | Mountain Leader &  Expedition Guide 

I’m Katie-Jane L’Herpiniere, a British adventure girl living in the French Alps. Addicted to type 2 fun and a lover of marzipan!

I am mostly known for my organisation and planning skills (a queen of lists and highlighters), my unwavering belief that anything is possible, whilst bringing a touch of pink and girly glamour to adventure.

My friends often refer to me as slightly crazy! But don’t be fooled… I’m not very brave, nor an adrenaline junkie or a daredevil, I’m just a normal girl, that through adventure is perpetually learning that ordinary people can do extraordinary things if they just can be bold enough to begin.

When I am not guiding clients or organising expeditions, you might find me looking out of my tent on a local mountain summit, snuggled deep in my sleeping bag, drinking a cuppa, watching the sun creep up over the mountains at dawn.

I have a passion for exploring this wonderful world in which we live. Having visited over 50 countries on 5 continents so far, I still feel there’s so much more to explore. I have often found that stripped of comforts and faced with hardships and adversities, the completion of each journey becomes so much more rewarding.

My life goals are to fill my day’s with wonderful adventures, making memories, seeing new places, meeting new faces, doing things that are difficult, and scaring myself a little, so that nothing feels familiar & therefore everyday becomes extraordinary.

My adventures, amongst others, include: Being the first person to walk the entire 4500km length of the Great Wall of China unsupported. The longest crossing of the Patagonian Ice Cap by a woman. Riding the 1911 original Tour de France route unsupported, 5,439km, in the duration the professional cyclists take to ride today’s current Tour that is 2000km shorter. 1 of just 29 finishers from the 98 starters to complete the inaugural Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan.

As an adventurer, I have been featured in; Hello Magazine, Easyjet in-flight magazine, Outside, Geographical, Style, Sunday Times and the Telegraph amongst others. I have made appearances on the BBC News, ITV News and the likes of Saturday Kitchen. As a speaker, I have been fortunate to share my stories with organisations that include; HSBC, Admiral Group, Gillette, The Royal Geographic Society, Kendal Mountain Festival and many more.

You can read more about my adventures, expeditions and challenges here.

The Backstory

Exhibitionist to Expeditionist

I was 9 years old when one day I said those dreaded words to my dad “I’m bored”, during the summer holidays. Before I knew it, I was at the local horse riding school. I have no idea why they choose horse riding, no one in the family rode, but I took to it instantly. Within a year I had become a competitive event rider, and my wonderful parents spent every weekend living in a horse lorry driving me to competitions all over the UK for the rest of my childhood. My greatest achievements include; National School Champion, runner-up in under 21 PC National Championships and winner of South West championships 6 years in a row.

After school, I studied for a degree at the University of Plymouth, before moving on to my Masters at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. Then completely by chance after university, I found myself building a successful career as a commercial model. Working on fashion shows for household names such as Marks and Spencer’s, TIGI and Alexander McQueen, photo shoots and a number of Film and TV projects, including having body doubled for Cameron Diaz.

The ‘real’ adventurous side to my life began in 2005 after I met a man called Tarka. We met through family friends at a party and were quick to find we had little in common. Tarka was less than impressed with my manicured nails and face full of makeup, likewise, I did not see Tarka as the ‘all-action hero’ that his accolades suggested, more a really ‘odd’ Frenchman who seemed to find enjoyment in throwing himself into frozen lakes! We met again 6 months later and very quickly our miss guided impressions of each other were realised and our friendship flourished. So much so, that by the fourth day he asked me to join him on his next North Pole expedition attempt!! “Absolutely no way” was my immediate reply. I need not give it a moments thought, ‘why would I, ‘how’ could I’. Over the next few months Tarka had convinced me somehow that I was capable of far more than I knew, and so I agreed, but only if we could do something “easier” first. On my list of places I wanted to see in the world was the Great Wall of China, so I suggested that – although I only had a couple of weeks walking and taking some pictures in mind. Tarka, however, ran with the idea; he found out that no one had ever walked the full length of it before, and before I knew it we were busily planning our expedition to become the first people in the world to work the entire 4500km length of the Great Wall of China from its most westerly to most easterly point, continually and unsupported. The rest, as they say, is history.

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The world is big, time is short, come and see it with me