In fact, it may be quicker to list the things Maude Tiso hasn't done such is her impressive portfolio of accomplishments.
The co-founder of Scottish outdoor clothing and equipment specialists Tiso, 2012 marks her 50th year in the business. She laughs when asked if the landmark anniversary has come around fast. "Sometimes when the young people at work ask about things I suddenly have the thought: 'I've become a museum in my own lifetime'. It feels like looking at somebody else.
"They are always slightly disbelieving of the lack of equipment we had when I started out climbing. They ask things like: 'Did you really only have Primus stoves and use long-shafted ice axes?' It's fair to say the clothes and gear we had in the late 1950s and early 1960s was not all that different to what they had in Victorian times."
Tiso, 77, and her late husband Graham helped change all that, pioneers in bringing high-tech outdoors equipment to the masses. The couple opened their first Tiso store in 1962 – the same year they married – sparked by their own passion for the mountains.
"We had friends who owned a boat shop in Edinburgh and they enjoyed selling the chandlery stuff but didn't like selling the clothing," she says. "They said we could use their back room on Saturdays and sell ropes and boots if we also helped them selling their clothing. We then opened our first shop in October that year in Rodney Street, Edinburgh."
Back then the couple knew almost all the climbers in Scotland by name. They began to import ice axes, boots and crampons from the top manufacturers across Europe. "There was one good climber from Glasgow who was out in New Zealand in the late 1960s and he discovered this miraculous thing called a fairydown sleeping bag," she recalls. "We became the first importers in the UK."
When Graham died suddenly in 1992 aged 57, she found herself taking over the reins. "I was an equal partner from the beginning, but Graham was a larger-than-life person and known as the public face of Tiso," she says. "It was still seen as a man's world and after he died it was fully expected I would sell the business. There was definitely people sniffing around.
"I thought: 'Over my dead body', because I had made a lot of sacrifices, juggling the business with having children. There was no way I was losing what we had both worked so hard for. It is devastating when someone dies suddenly, it completely rocks you, but I found that having to work for something outside of myself was the best therapy I could have had."
The youngest of her three sons. Chris, 40, is chief executive of the company which includes Alpine Bikes and Blues the Ski Shop, and has 21 stores across Scotland, but Tiso herself still takes an active role.
"I try not to be looking over anyone's shoulder, but I like to have enough awareness of the new technology and developments in our field to know what will be beneficial to us and what might be unnecessary," she says. "Chris is always pleased to know I agree with the moves being made."
The second eldest of five children. Tiso was born on the Isle of Eigg but grew up on the family farm near Linlithgow. Her father David farmed cattle, sheep and grew crops, while her mother, Mary, looked after their large brood.
"Almost everything that is of interest in my life has come from my early childhood when we got National Geographic, which friends of my parents would pass along to us," she says. "My family was living on a fairly remote farm and while I loved everything about that, National Geographic was such a contrast. There was this whole miraculous world out there: Africa, South America and Nepal. It felt like dipping into a treasure chest.
"Growing up I was a real tomboy, but also bookish. Books were a huge influence on my life. It was how I found out there had been many women climbers and explorers flying planes. It reinforced what I felt inside I wanted to do – on a smaller scale."
Tiso was 18 when she climbed her first mountain, the 2866ft Goat Fell on Arran. "I have a photograph of me standing at the top in a head scarf, woolly jumper, shorts and gym shoes," she recalls. "It was difficult because my parents, who were wonderful people but quite old-fashioned, didn't think that going mountaineering was suitable for a girl. I was an obedient child in the sense you respected your parents and didn't defy them. By the time I was in my twenties, however, I decided it was something I wanted to do."
She qualified as a biochemist and moved to Norway aged 24. There, Tiso explored the mountains on her days off. "I didn't know anyone, it was my first adventure aboard," she says. "Certainly someone from my background, without a financial safety net, wasn't able to do a gap year. It was wonderful. I made a decision there and then that, if I wanted to do something, I wouldn't wait for someone else to do it with me – I would just go myself."
It was an era of few female climbers. "It was very much a man's world but what you find – and this applies to more than just climbing – is that if are enthusiastic then you are accepted. I didn't go to find a boyfriend and I made a point of not dating anyone. It was important to me to be accepted for wanting to be on the hills – not as being someone looking for a boyfriend."
She fell in love with Graham after being introduced by friends in 1961. "The climbing world was so small that we would have met sooner or later," she says. "We knew of each other, of course, we had heard stories about one another."
What kind of thing? She smiles softly. "Just that we were strong-minded and independent – can you use feisty for men as well? We had similar outlooks."
She is spoiled for choice when asked about her ultimate climbing experience. "There's many but the most memorable is doing the Aonach Eagach ridge in Glencoe in winter. The weather was terrible so we hadn't been able to get out on the hills much. We were all at a dance in the village hall when the snow suddenly stopped. It was a bright and clear frosty night. This one chap and I decided it was perfect conditions and we had to go there and then.
"It was almost 4am when we set off and it was hard going, but just so beautiful. At one point we could see the dawn coming up one side and the blue colours of the moon on the other. I have never forgotten that. I was 22 or 23 at the time."
That adventurous streak has remained a central theme. Tiso has spent winters dog sledding in Greenland and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro aged 63. "I have always had a fascination with Africa. It's a magical word Kilimanjaro – almost like Timbuktu."
Her other big passion is conservation; she and Graham were founder members of the John Muir Trust. Tiso has co-led rainforest expeditions to provide a sanitation system for a remote village in Venezuela and trekked the Machu Picchu Trail in Peru.
"That comes very much from my father who was quite remarkable in being a farmer and a keen gardener," she says. "He was a bit in the image of John Muir himself in that he made connections with nature and that is something which excites me very much."
Yet her many adventures haven't been without their hairy moments, not least surviving travelling across Venezuela amid a fierce thunder storm and treacherous flash floods. "The truck wheels were lurching one way and another," she says. "Myself and some others were in the back among the rice sacks with a tarpaulin pulled over the top. It felt like we were going to tip right over. We heard of other lorries that had accidents on the same roads, but somehow we made it."
She smiles softly when asked if there is anything she would have done differently? "One of my favourite songs is Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien by Edith Piaf. I believe that if you do the best at the time, then you shouldn't have any regrets. That's the way I choose to live my life."
Tiso Spirit of Adventure 50th anniversary events, featuring explorers Polly Murray, Mark Beaumont and Guy Grieve, will take place in Glasgow tomorrow and Edinburgh on Thursday. www.tiso.com
maude tiso Entrepreneur