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Forest Hills resident hopes to make history hiking world’s tallest mountains

Forest Hills resident Patricia Alcivar at the top of Mount Elbrus in Russia. (Courtesy of Alcivar)

Patricia Alcivar of Forest Hills is a professional boxer, runner and athlete who fell in love with the mountains and is now looking to set a new world record: becoming the first Latina from Queens to conquer the seven summits, which are the highest peaks in each of the world’s continents. 

Alcivar has already reached the top of three major mountains: Mount Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet above sea level) in Tanzania; Mount Elbrus (18,510 feet) in Russia; and Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua (22,841 feet).

In June, she’s looking forward to scaling Mount Denali (20,310 feet) in Alaska. Then, she will set her sights on Mount Vinson (16,056) in Antarctica; Carstensz Pyramid (16,024 feet) in Indonesia; and the legendary Mount Everest (29,029 feet) in the Himalayas. 

According to Alcivar, Denali National Parks grants 1,000 permits per climbing season, and only 1 percent of permits are given to women. 

“I have five months left of training and am going to do my absolute best,” Alcivar said. “So very little women go to Denali — it’s one of the mountains in the world where you have to carry and pull your own equipment. I will be pulling about 50 to 70 pounds on the sled and another 60 to 70 pounds in my backpack, pulling more than my body weight.”

If Alcivar, the daughter of Colombian immigrants, completes this goal, she will be the first Queens resident and first Latina to have climbed all of the peaks, also known as “Hitting the Explorers Grand Slam,” which is considered to be hiking’s biggest achievement. 

About 350 people have topped the seven summits. The first person to complete this major challenge was Richard Bass, who owned Utah’s Snowbird resort, in April 1985. 

In 2016, Alcivar signed up for her very first mountain expedition in Ecuador after successfully summiting Mount Superior in Utah, her first introduction to alpine climbing. 

“My self confidence was boosted and everything in the past didn’t matter at the moment. I was definitely a little nervous and a little winded since it was my first time being in a high altitude, but we did it,” Alcivar said. “It wasn’t easy, but through the challenge and beauty of the mountain, that definitely helped motivate me to go to the very end.” 

After experiencing an amazing feeling and a rush of adrenaline during her first climb, Alcivar decided to take it to the highest level possible after researching the seven summits and launched her project, Climbing for a Dream of Seven Summits. 

Aside from mountaineering, Alcivar practices martial arts, runs marathons, completes triathlons, competes in adventure races, stars in fitness commercials and works as an EMT.

“To me, my whole life has been a huge challenge. The things I’ve accomplished so far are things I’m not supposed to,” said Alcivar, who has been on her own since the age of 15.

At the age of 10, Alcivar’s father was removed from their home. Feeling as though she was drowning from the memories of her father, Alcivar decided to leave home, although her mother did her best to support her four daughters. Alcivar had struggled to stand out and fit in amongst her sisters and family. She was living in a small rented room in someone’s home, working after school at a sneaker store. 

However, Alcivar’s fears, challenges, dreams and faith kept her strong and safe on the right path to graduating high school with honors. She ran her first marathon at the age of 16 and though it was a wonderful accomplishment, she felt there was so much more to do. 

After completing her first marathon, Alcivar was committed to running every year in remembrance of her struggles and everything she endured during her first run. So far, she has completed 27 marathons, including two Boston Marathons. 

During her youth, the two-time Golden Gloves champion boxed first as an amateur and then professionally with the nickname “Boom Boom.” Her record as a pro is 8-4 with three knockouts in the Flyweight and Super Flyweight categories. 

Alcivar is the first female athlete to win Athlete of the Year by the USA Olympic Boxing Committee after winning the first USA Women’s Boxing Nationals in 1997. As a former professional boxer, she won her first New York state title in 2013.

Alcivar is the first female athlete to win Athlete of the Year by the USA Olympic Boxing Committee after winning the first USA Women’s Boxing Nationals in 1997. (Courtesy of Alcivar)

Part of her attraction to extreme sports is related to boxing, said Alcivar, who works as a bilingual program coordinator for LatinaSHARE, a national organization dedicated to helping women affected by breast, ovarian or uterine cancer. 

“In both cases, it’s you against a tough opponent, and you have to find your inner strength to survive. I’m not a millionaire or super athlete, but I believe that I was blessed with an indomitable spirit, and I love the challenge,” Alcivar said. “Plus, I really want to inspire other women to chase their dreams.” 

In preparation for her upcoming hike in June, Alcivar wakes up at 4 a.m. seven days a week training in her backyard and at Forest Park at the Olympic-sized track and field, hiking trails and steps. On the weekends, she continues her training in the Catskills and Adirondacks, wearing heavy duty equipment as she hikes eight to 12 hours. 

“I train really hard and people ask, ‘what’s my incentive?’ Completing this goal is my incentive,’” Alcivar said.  

After the completion of her seven summit project, Alcivar says she hopes to build a foundation for women of all ages and to help educate them about the beauty and healing powers of nature. 

“That’s part of the reason why I climb. The mountains are pure and for someone like me going through a rough background, the mountains are challenging, healing and beautiful and it brings out the absolute best in me,” Alcivar said.

While the trips are expensive, Alcivar is hoping that a Queens-based business will sponsor her to defray the costs. Mountaineers usually reserve a spot on their targeted mountains at least a year in advance. 

For Alcivar, it would be an honor to represent Queens. 

“It totally defies the odds for someone living at sea level and climbing these mountains and I definitely need the support,” Alcivar said. “Just to climb Mount Everest is super expensive, and I can’t do it on my own.”

To help Alcivar reach her goal, email climbingforadream@gmail.com.

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