LAKE TAHOE (October 1, 2023) – Scott Lehmann and Shayna Unger share a unique bond with the majestic mountains and with each other. Unlike most mountaineers who rely on their voices and hearing to communicate in the harshest terrains of our planet, Lehmann and Unger have chosen a different path to conquer the highest peaks. They were both born deaf and first crossed paths as teenagers while attending a school for the deaf. Since then, they have been inseparable. Both have obtained master’s degrees and now work as educators, but it is their extraordinary sense of adventure beyond the confines of the classroom that truly sets them apart.
In 2012, during a road trip, Lehmann and a group of friends made a spontaneous decision to climb Mount Rainier. None of them had any prior experience in mountaineering, and as they struggled in their ascent, trembling with cold and not fully understanding how to use their equipment, they reluctantly decided to abandon their efforts when they were less than 1,500 feet away from the summit. However, this experience ignited a spark in Lehmann, and with no classes on mountaineering available in American Sign Language and no deaf guides to seek guidance from, he fully immersed himself in learning the intricacies of this challenging pursuit. He turned to online videos on platforms like YouTube, utilizing them as valuable resources. During his climbs, Lehmann would often carry a pen and paper with him, eager to engage with other experienced mountaineers he encountered along the way and absorb their knowledge.
Soon enough, Unger became captivated by Lehmann’s newfound passion, and despite her lack of experience, she eagerly joined him as a climbing partner. Together, they embarked on this thrilling journey, defying the limits imposed by their deafness.
Three years after Lehmann was denied permission to climb Mount Rainier, the dynamic duo successfully reached the summit of Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. Their relentless pursuit of mountaineering prowess continued in 2020, when they achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the first all-deaf team to conquer Aconcagua in South America. Not content with their previous accomplishments, they went on to seize victory by becoming the first all-deaf team to summit Denali, the tallest peak in North America, just a year later.
Their awe-inspiring journey reached new heights last June, as they triumphantly conquered the mighty Mount Everest followed by the world’s fourth tallest peak, Lhotse, merely a day later. This remarkable achievement not only etched Unger’s name in history as the first deaf woman to conquer the loftiest peak on Earth but also established Lehmann as the first deaf American to successfully summit Everest. In addition to these groundbreaking records, they solidified their place as the third and fourth deaf climbers to conquer Everest, and the first deaf couple to conquer both Everest and Lhotse in a single season.
Since their indomitable ascent in the Himalayas, Lehmann and Unger have embarked on a nation-wide tour, captivating audiences with their extraordinary story. On Friday, October 6th, they will grace the picturesque Lake Tahoe with their presence. The renowned GearLab in Glenbrook will host the event, organized by the esteemed Tahoe Family Hearing Clinic. Attendees will have the opportunity to gain insights from the couple’s unparalleled experiences, as they recount every arduous challenge they faced before, during, and after their triumphant conquest of Everest. Moreover, they will offer captivating demonstrations and share invaluable expertise on mountaineering gear and equipment, enabling attendees to get a glimpse into their daily lives as deaf climbers.
“It’s a special occasion where Lehmann and Unger will graciously share their remarkable journey as deaf mountaineers, shedding light on every obstacle they overcame on their path to Everest,” said Rob Sandy, the office manager at Tahoe Family Hearing Clinic. “They will enlighten us about the intricacies of their gear, provide captivating demonstrations, and offer us a profound glimpse into their daily lives.”
Deaf mountaineers, Scott Lehmann and Shayna Unger, became the third and fourth Deaf people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. They will share their story and showcase hands-on demos of gear and equipment at GearLab, Highway 50, Glenbrook, NV [Lake Tahoe] on Friday, October 6 · 4:30 – 6:30pm
The two-hour event is free. Registration can be done at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/deaf-climbers-summit-everest-tickets-722335734627