Posts tagged everest
Navigating failure... Successfully

On May 16th, 2013 at 2:37AM I was one-thousand vertical feet away from achieving my life-long goal.  I could taste it. I had visualized this moment countless times over my two years of training and preparation.  It was summit night on Mt. Everest, and I was in a zen-like state of focus. So focused in fact that I didn’t realize, or wouldn’t admit to myself, that the weather conditions around me had quickly shifted from unfavorable to flat-out dangerous.

The cry of an anguished prayer broke my summit-fever. It was the voice of Kancha, my Nepali climbing partner.  Looking at him, I realized that we had entered a cloud of Rime Ice that was beginning to freeze our oxygen masks and corneas.  With winds gusting to 85mph and the temperature hovering around -30F, it felt like we were strapped to the wing of a 747 aircraft.  And just like that I knew our summit attempt was over.  I was crushed. 


Moments before my summit push at Camp 4. 

In my four years of high-altitude climbing and guiding I had never once been turned around due to weather.  And to be perfectly honest, the thought of not reaching the summit of Mt. Everest had never crossed my mind.  It was a forgone conclusion, I had put in the work and nothing was going to stop me.  Until it did. 

Dealing with this defeat has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done; far more trying than any day on Mt. Everest.  Now would be a good moment for me to string together a score of motivational cliches telling you  to deny human emotion and push through the pain.  Fortunately for you, thats not what I’m going to do because the fact remains that failure is inevitable and inevitably painful.  If you are truly willing to chase after your dreams, to lay it all on the line, and give it everything you got, you have opened yourself up to the possibility of failure.  And, when it comes, it’s going to hurt. 

Here are five things I’ve found helpful in dealing with disappointment as a result of athletic endeavors or otherwise. 

1. Allow yourself time.

Whether you dropped-out during your first trail race or injured yourself while training, you need to allow yourself time to digest the disappointment.  Allow yourself to feel it.  Sit with it.  Acquaint yourself with disappointment; the evil step-sister of success. 

2. Don’t make any major decisions.

Your not thinking clearly.  You’re questioning everything.  Decisions at this stage in the game will be made from a point of raw emotion and not rational thought. 

3. Take care of your body.

This is the most important step along the way.  Stay away from the extremes.   Don’t try to jump back into a training routine and certainly don’t stop exercising and eating right.  Listen to your body and give it what it needs. 

4. Talk to people.

It can be a dark world listening to your own thoughts day-in and day-out.  Seek out a training partner or climbing buddy and talk about your experience.  You’ll be surprised what you’ll hear yourself say. 

5. Answer the question.

The most beautiful thing about not achieving your goal is that despite everything else you’re always left with a choice; are you going to call it quits or are you going to use the failure as fuel?

It’s never a true failure until you stop trying. 


Peter Hillary, son of Edmund Hillary, knows a thing or two about disappointment. 

She's in sight
Good morning from the Namche Bazaar, a bustling village in the heart of the Khumbu resting just over 11,000ft.  Cut from the side of a mountain in the shape of a horseshoe, Namche defines the term “sensory overload.” If one stone were to be removed from the meticulously terraced landscape I fear the whole village would slide into the valley below. 

We will spend two days here in Namche, climbing high and sleeping low, allowing our bodies to get the most out of the acclimatization process. Today we hiked 2000ft above Namche where we had a spectacular view of Everest. Needless to say I was pretty fired up; a flurry of high fives later I sat down and the reality of the length of this journey settled-in. 

(Everest center behind Nuptse Ridge)

I’m feeling very strong, healthy, and focused. My appetite has been absolutely ferocious and I’m doing my best to get as many calories down while we’re still down low. Have you ever had a deep-fried snickers bar for post-breakfast dessert? Neither had I.

Click here to learn more about the pack I’ll be using on Everest

Please consider supporting my fundraising efforts for Flying Kites


After a seamless journey to Nepal I’ve spent the past few days in Kathmandu making final preparations and sneaking-out for a bit of culture. Our team is made up of people from all over the world; Norway, Austria, Hong Kong, and good ol’ ‘merica. For privacy purposes I will not be blogging about the other members of our team; it’s not my story to tell. Although I will say that we have a fantastic group of strong climbers and I look forward to getting to know them over the next few months. 
The expedition officially kicks off tomorrow with the infamous flight to Lukla; a story-book village nestled into the foothills of the Himalaya in a region known as the Khumbu Valley. Some consider this flight the most dangerous part of the trip as the landing strip in Lukla is shorter than most go-kart tracks and is punctuated with a massive wall of rock. From Lukla we’ll begin our two-week trek into Base Camp taking more time than normal to allow for maximum acclimatization. 
Check in soon…
Little hand says it's time to rock'n'roll!

Before we start this party let us get the proverbial “Led” out!

Aaaah thats better…

As your reading this I’m somewhere over the middle east in a very bad seat on a very nice plane. Although I can’t say for sure, I imagine I’m pretty fired up at the moment, and may or may not be dipping into my expedition snack food. One thing is for certain, I haven’t slept a wink.

Welcome to my Everest 2013 blog! See you in Kathmandu; it’s go time!

Colorado Training: Week 1

After three weeks in Kenya and Tanzania and a four-day road trip from R.I. to CO I was, strangely enough, dying to get back into a routine. After all Everest is less than two-months away and I’ve got a lot of work do!

Sunday morning Jason and I headed into Rocky Mountain National Park to scratch around a little and get some altitude. Our goal was to climb “Martha” on Mt. Lady Washington (13,281ft), but we ended up heading up the couloir right before Martha. The route offered three mixed sections including an overhanging choss/chockstone constriction, certainly not a classic but it was good to get a ten-hour day in the hills!

The rest of the week I spent running, cycling, and training out of ATC and RallySport. This weekend we’re going to head to Leadville to get some running in! Here are a few pictures from the week:

(Day one at The Alpine Training Center in my “birthday vest”)


(Nice little run up Green Mt. with my Merrell Mix Master 2s)


(My set up at RallySport)
What folly to think that anyone climbs Everest for the views, or the thrills, or the bragging rights, or vaguest of all, because it’s there. What’s there is this: the chance to be worthy of your own dreams.
— Nick Heil
In 2009, then 66 year old Dawes Eddy of Spokane, Washington inspired us all with his summit of Mt. Everest via the South Col. Dawes’ climb was documented on the television show, Everest: Beyond the Limit, which followed the teams of Eric Simonson (IMG) and Russell Brice (Himex). In the Spring of 2013 Dawes will once again attempt Everest only this time from the North side. If successful Dawes will become the oldest American to summit Mt. Everest.

In 2009, then 66 year old Dawes Eddy of Spokane, Washington inspired us all with his summit of Mt. Everest via the South Col. Dawes’ climb was documented on the television show, Everest: Beyond the Limit, which followed the teams of Eric Simonson (IMG) and Russell Brice (Himex). In the Spring of 2013 Dawes will once again attempt Everest only this time from the North side. If successful Dawes will become the oldest American to summit Mt. Everest.

Everest Training Update

Last week I wrapped up the strength-focus phase of my Everest training program with 1RM testing. I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

  • Deadlift: 415
  • Back Squat: 405
  • Front Squat: 290
  • Power Clean: 275
  • Snatch: 205
  • Bench: 265
  • 5k time: 19:49

Starting weight (8/15): 198lbs

Finishing weight (11/28): 210lbs

With less than four months to go it’s time to shift the focus to endurance and get my nutrition dialed-in. While lifting heavy is fun, I know it’s not going to get me up the mountain. For the next two months my training will be 70% aerobic and 30% anaerobic. This means I’ll be ramping-up the running, cycling and metabolic conditioning and backing off the heavy lifting. In early January I’ll have an opportunity to train at altitude while leading a group up Kilimanjaro and then head right to Colorado until I leave for Nepal.

The nerves have settled in nicely; there is no denying that they exist but I’ve developed an almost harmonious working relationship with them. They drive my training to new levels everyday and demand upon me unwavering focus. Every once in a while I need to remind myself to enjoy the process because even though I write this from the comforts of my home, my climb on Mt. Everest is very much so underway.

The first sighting...

There are few moments in a person’s life that are so profound they create a clear dividing line; life before and life after this instant are as different as night and day. This photo captures that moment in my life.

Our group had been hiking all day through the lush lower-reaches of the Khumbu valley in the Himalayas of Nepal. Our last obstacle was a steep 1200ft ascent before reaching the storybook village of Namche where fresh ginger tea and mo mos awaited. I was listening to "Rhythm" by AWOL One; for some reason it’s what the mood called for. I had just landed an award winning heel-click when Phula, our Nepali guide, called me over with the flick of his head. “Thash Everesh,” he stated pointing through the trees. 

For some reason I didn’t rush over right away. I took my time walking towards Phula as though I knew that those steps would be the last in a life I had formally known. Life before Everest. 

Prior to this point I had only entertained the idea of climbing Everest while procrastinating with co-worker and friend Toby Storie-Pugh in the comforts of our warm office in Brooklyn, NY. All such conversations resulted in elevated heart rates followed by strings of profanity uttered in-between sets of push-ups. It is easy to talk about doing something when the likelihood of it actually happening is, well, not-ever-going-to-fucking-happen. 

 When I finally approached Phula and peered through the branches to see the unmistakable silhouette of Everest towering over the Nupste-Lhotse Ridge it all became real. In that very instant I was able to say goodbye to my dramatic fantasy of Everest as a two-headed monster that eats ice-axes and crampons for breakfast. It was just another mountain; a really big and beautiful one. And since that moment life has not been the same.