The plan was outrageous: A small team of four climbers would attempt a new route on the East Face of Mt. Everest, considered the most remote and dangerous side of the mountain, which had only been successfully climbed once before. Unlike the first large team, Mimi Zieman and her team would climb without using supplemental oxygen or porter support. While the unpredictable weather and high altitude of 29,035 feet make climbing Everest perilous in any condition, attempting a new route, with no idea of what obstacles lay ahead, was especially audacious. Team members were expected to push themselves to their limits and to find a way to tackle the improbable. Zieman would accompany the climbers as the “doctor”—and the only woman—although she was only in her third year of medical school. On Everest, when three of their climbers disappeared during their summit attempt, Zieman reached the knife edge of her limits and dug deeply to call upon a well of resilience and courage.
Tap Dancing on Everest recounts Mimi Zieman’s unlikely journey from an upbringing in an Orthodox Jewish community in 1970s New York City as the daughter of immigrants, to an audacious and historic Everest expedition in 1988.
Mimi Zieman is a board-certified OB/GYN, author, speaker, and reproductive rights activist. She was a founding member of the scientific Society of Family Planning and served as Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood Southeast. She received the Georgia 2019 “Women Who Dare” award from the National Council of Jewish Women, where she currently chairs the reproductive justice committee. She has lectured nationally and internationally for professional medical organizations and other groups, and has been interviewed by media outlets including CNN, Fox News, Georgia Week in Review, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, Brides, Redbook, Glamour, Fitness, Esquire, and Good Day Atlanta. Zieman has treated frozen limbs on the highest mountain, delivered triplets near the world’s deepest ocean trench, tap danced in Broadway studios, and has been a suburban mom of three—all experiences that have prepared her for unexpected challenges. Her writing has appeared in Ms. Magazine, NBC News THINK, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Sun, and the Atlanta Jewish Times. Zieman has co-authored sixteen editions of Managing Contraception. Most recently, she wrote and produced a play, The Post-Roe Monologues, which was performed in August 2022 and will be performed in October as a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. Zieman lives in Atlanta, Georgia.