Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My View of Everest 2014

How I view my Everest 2014 experience is so much different than how most other people see it. This is another slide from my Everest presentation at work. Everyone I talk to sees almost only Mt. Everest. They see a six week period in my life, a waste of money, a risk of death, and media coverage. For me, it's just part of the story, part of the journey. Oh I realize it could have been the end had the avalanche happened one day later, but it isn't the end. Along those same lines, it is nowhere near the beginning. Take a look at the graphic.
My View of Everest 2014
This is just a smattering of the events leading up to Everest. One that people seem to get fixated on is the money. Yes, it was tremendously expensive to me. I saved for three years. That seems like a huge loss to most people, and it is, I am depressed about it, but it happened during a formaitve time in my life, and now I have built my life into living below my means, saving lots of money, and going after big goals. To me, those positive aspects that are now somewhat hardwired into me are great skills. A lot of people will talk about wanting to chase a big goal "someday", well, I've already done it once. I can do it again. I can chase a big goal two more times. I can chase a big goal three more times, maybe a dozen times, if I don't die before then. Not everyone has the follow through that for better or worse I now have.

Also on this graphic I reference the three times that I nearly died in the mountains. I won't go into detail, but suffice to say mistakes were made in each circumstance that I could mitigate against in the future. To some extent, they could happen again, but I would be much more aware of the events leading up to a serious accident. Experience matters. As a young person I like to imagine that skills make up for experience, and to some extent they do, but ultimately you have to live through the experiences first hand to understand.

I am not planning to talk about every bubble on the chart. The point of this is that Mount Everest is just part of my mountaineering experience. The final specific thing I want to point out is I basically taught myself how to mountaineer from reading Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills 6th edition. I read it cover to cover in 2004 and practiced everything in the book. To be honest, if you want to get into mountaineering, or any style of climbing, read that book, newest edition of course, and practice all the techniques and rope work it details.

So that's how I see it, Everest is a small part of my mountaineering experience. 

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