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Nav Cheema: A Software Engineer Conquering the Seven Summits 

Nav Cheema (right) at the top of Mount Elbrus in Russia

Say hello to Nav Cheema, A Software Development Engineer III who has been with Expedia Group for over 13 years. Nav is part of the Partner Success team, lending her expertise to the Universal Messaging Platform. Beyond the world of code, Nav is a passionate mountaineer who has conquered a remarkable feat – climbing 4 of the 7 Summits, the highest mountains on each continent. Reaching these summits is a coveted accomplishment in the mountaineering world, but she is not done yet

Image from Altezza Travel

The first of the 7 Summits that I climbed was Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (5,895 meters / 19,341 feet) in October 2018. I had always been active but was looking for a new outlet and goal to stay busy. I went with 4 others on the Lemosho route which was fantastic as we were able to hike through all the different environments – rain forest, plateaus, rocky mountains to the icy summit peak.  

Then I was granted a visitor visa to climb Mount Elbrus, Russia (5,642 meters / 18,510 feet) in June 2022.  The people I met were gracious and kind, warm hearted and supportive of climbers trying for the highest peak in Europe.   

While my first attempt at summiting Aconcagua, Argentina (6,962 meters / 22,837 feet) in December 2021 was unsuccessful (I reached 400m from the summit before needing to turn back due to vision issues), I was successful a year later in January 2023. The difference was due to taking the Polish Traverse route instead and being able to traverse the mountain.   

I spent the next year preparing to climb Denali, Alaska, USA (6,190 meters / 20,310 feet) in June 2023 – one of the most difficult climbs as it unsupported and my husband and I went unguided. Bad weather kept us on the mountain for a couple of extra days before we could summit, but the experience of hiking in the sunlight above the clouds at 2 am was transcendent.   

I will be heading out to Mount Everest, Nepal (8,848 meters / 29,032 feet) for a summit attempt this May. While training has been rigorous, I am looking forward to exploring the Himalayas for the first time.  The final two summits on my list are Mount Vinson, Antarctica (4,892 meters / 16,050 feet) and Puncak Jaya in Indonesia (4,884 meters / 16,024 feet). If all goes well, I would love to be able to mark them as summited in 2025!  

Absolutely, so much of high-altitude climbing is mental strength as well as physical. The ability to keep the big picture in mind while focusing on the details, staying positive during adversity, and adjusting quickly to changes are all keys to building a successful career. 

I have been blessed to have amazing managers and teammates over my last 13 years with EG. They have been very supportive of my utilizing my vacation time in blocks as well cheering me on before and after each climb.  

Also, I fully utilize our EG employee travel reimbursement benefit to cover the costs or flights/hotels related to the climbs – as well as the helpful and knowledgeable Slack channel we have for travelers for the inside scoop on where to stay and eat!  

I completely believe in a “Work hard, play hard” mentality! Give 100% while you are working and make sure to disconnect so that you can enjoy your time outside of work 100% as well. 

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