Posts tagged mountains
A house call from Dr. Mariorenzi

Dr. Louis Mariorenzi, friend, mentor and 2011 Everest summiteer, stopped by this morning for some final words of encouragement. Louis and his wife Priscilla have been an incredible source of support over the past year and for that I’m incredibly grateful! His modesty, generosity, and kind-nature never ceases to amaze me. I’m forever indebted to a mountain worlds away for bringing us together. 

Thank you Louis for all that you’ve done for me and I look forward to exchanging Everest tales over unalloyed libations upon my return! 

Click here to listen to Louis speak about his experience climbing Mt. Everest on NPR

Gear Review: Merrell Mix Master Tuff Mid


As part of the new Mconnect line Merrell introduced a minimalist hiking shoe. the Mix Master Tuff Mid.

From Merrell,

A little extra ankle support and durability does not equate extra bulk with our Mix Master Tough Mid. This super lightweight minimalist hiking shoe delivers an agile ride with its pared-down profile and 4mm drop for better ground feel. Its reinforced upper’s waterproof membrane keeps feet dry, and the sticky lugs propel you on pavement and packed trails.”

This shoe is a game-changer for me. For years I’ve hiked/trekked/approached in trail-runners simply because I could never justify the extra weight and bulk associated with a hiking boot. These shoes offer all of the benefits of a trail running shoe (lightweight, comfortable) while providing valuable ankle support. When on a long approach like the trek into Everest Base Camp or Aconcagua, one twisted ankle can ruin an entire expedition. This shoe will ensure that you arrive at base camp healthy and ready to climb. It has solved the difficult equation of comfort, functionality, and performance; it wears like a shoe and performs like a boot. 

I’ll be wearing these on my trek into Everest Base Camp in a few weeks. 

Price: $140

Get yourself a pair here.



Everest Packing List

The final countdown is on. March 25th is rapidly approaching and I’m nervously basking in the anticipation. And because I can’t control time, I’m obsessing over the one thing I can control; preparing. Put it this way, if you saw a list of my Google searches over the past two weeks you’d probably want to hug me and punch me in the face at the same time. However, through my web-search expedition I’ve managed to compile approximately 37 different packing lists. Some say four pairs of “man panties” (underwear), others say five. It’s a real dilemma. Drawing from this binder of packing lists I’ve finally put together a comprehensive list of my own. 

For those interested, here is my official packing list for Everest 2013.

Alan Arnette Interview

As part of his Everest 2013 coverage Alan Arnette has been conducting interviews with some of this seasons climbers. Dawes Eddy is a tough act to follow but here is my interview:

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
Let's Get Outside: A new partnership with MERRELL


Excited to be joining the Merrell team as an Alpha in “The Pack,” a community of outdoor athletes seeking adventure, excitement and togetherness! A brand that truly embodies the adventurer lifestyle, Merrell understands the needs of those of us who make it a priority to get outside and go!

Over the next year I’ll be working with the Merrell team to help inspire people to step out of their comfort zone, realize their potential, endure, and improve. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing people accomplish what they once thought impossible! Let’s Get Outside!

Progress on Kilimanjaro

The sounds of “Jambo Bwana” and "The Kilimanjaro Song" echo through Mweka Camp. You’ve just reached the summit of Africa’s tallest mountain and you’re now back down in the relative comforts of the treeline. It was the toughest 24 hours of your life and soon you will be back at your lodge in Moshi or Arusha to rest for a few days before going on safari. It sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it?


Known world-wide as a relatively “easy” 5000 meter peak, and the highest point in Africa, Kilimanjaro attracts people from all over the world. A study published by the Overseas Development Institute estimated that 40,000 people visit Kilimanjaro every year, spending nearly $50 million (annually) in Tanzania. The study also revealed that local residents earn nearly 28% of the total revenue; the world’s most successful transfer of resources to a local community. Put simply, nearly $13 million a year goes directly into the local communities impacting nearly 50,000 local Tanzanians directly or indirectly. For one of the poorest countries in the world, this mountain is a lifeline. 


As somebody who has spent a lot of time on Kilimanjaro I’m incredibly excited by these findings. It’s been great to see the park use some of this income to clean up the mountain and begin to build new huts and facilities. Each time I return the mountain seems healthier (with the exception of the fading glaciers). What’s most exciting is that the working conditions on Kilimanjaro for the porters, the backbone of every expedition, have improved drastically thanks to the efforts of an incredible woman by the name of Karen Valenti, Project Manager of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project. In addition to the no-cost clothing lending program which equips porters with appropriate mountain climbing gear, KPAP has managed to make it very difficult for guide companies to exploit porters by implementing the Partnership for Responsible Travel Program as set forth by the International Mountain Explorers Connection. This program sets the standard for acceptable working conditions; minimum wages, load limits, fair tipping procedures, proper shelter and sleeping equipment, and at least two meals per day. If you are guiding on Kilimanjaro and you’re not on this list you need to get with the program!

As always there is still much to be done. As adventurers, trekkers, mountaineers and travelers we have a responsibility to ensure that nobody is suffering on account of our passions. Here are several ways you can help:

1. Donate to KPAP

2. Complete a climber survey/ report poor working conditions 

3. Only use guide companies who are a member of the IMEC Program

4. Tip your porters directly

5. Spread awareness 

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.