Climbing a windy cold mountain & how it changed a part of me

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
Helen Keller 
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Today I returned to LA on a plane. This plane flight concluded my latest but most definetly not last adventure, The summiting of Mount Rainier.

With new friends and old friends (8 in total) we accended Mount Rainier on Thursday Morning. After 6 Hours of hiking and 6000 feet later we spent the night at Camp Muir. We went to bed at 7:00pm due to wind chill and absolute freezing temperatures.

Wake up was at 7:00am, Breakfast at 8:00am and training was at 9:00am. Needless to say it was still cold, but the sun was out and wearing crampons and helmets is always a good time. We were feeling good about our adventure thus far. Our guides proved to be great, the guide team consisted of 3 people for our 8 climbers, one of the guides is the world record holder for fastest accent of Mount Everest (4.5 hours from base camp to summit…. I know…. crazy… I know)

After training we hiked to Ingram Flats about 1500ft vertical. We slept is small tents for the night.. This night we went to bed at 5pm… why? Because once again it was too cold and windy to be anywhere but in your tent trying to sleep. Image

The schedule called for a 1am wake up and a 2am to start our final accent to the summit of Mount Rainier. No need for a wake up, when you can’t sleep. The winds were so strong I was surprised we did not get blown into the giant crevass that was only 50 feet away from our tents. We packed our packs and off we went.. Day 3 and we are embarking on the final 4000 feet at 2am.

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Day 3 was the final accent day and by far the most difficult part of the journey. We crossed the glacier, went under seracs, rock fall areas, and other very dangerous things. Image

After climbing the glacier from 2am-8:30am.. we summited. We stood atop Mount Rainier and shouted down to her!! As we stayed up at 14,400 feet for about 30 minutes and explored her peaks. It was at this moment, when I looked down and saw how small we were on this giant mountain, above the clouds, away from anything that could be construed as “secure” or “a sure thing”  something inside me happened. A sense of achievment? perhaps? a yearning for the next adventure? more likely. But maybe a decision was made at that moment…. a decision that will shape the future of my time here on this planet. Image

Things I decided:

I will not avoid the so called danger of this world, everything we do daily has the possibility of danger. I will live everyday with an adventurous spirit, saying yes and opening up for experiences. I will seek out more adventures to share the adventure with, if they are yes people, they are my kind of people. I will start thinking “Bigger picture” more consistently, we are so small on this huge piece of the universe. And last but not least, I will trust myself more to achieve the seemingly difficult or impossible tasks of my journey every time.

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If you would like to know how to climb Mount Rainier, or at least my tips on “how to” please visit my “Hard or Not” part of the writings.

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Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Something Spectacular

Glacier Hike

“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation”-Robert H. Schuller

As I prepare for my adventure there is an endless amount of gear I have to purchase or rent… Glacier hiking is not for the “bargain” hunting adventurer. After countless hours spent online researching gear, and youtube videos of”How-To’s” on ice climbing, there is also the amount of money I have spent in Sports Chalet, REI, and other sporting good stores, this being said, finally I FEEL PREPARED!

Albeit shopping and research is what most of us would consider “unspectacular” it is a necessity when embarking upon a challenge with a 50% Fail Rate.

This brings me to the idea of being prepared everyday of your life for something spectacular to happen! expect it.

Top 5 Ways to be prepared for something spectacular:

  1. Get to Bed Earlier TONIGHT!– (Often overlooked, but most important)
  2. Get Present-  Don’t worry about tomorrow, or the past, focus on what is happening right now in front of you. What are you doing right now? focus on it, pay attention, it may be the “something spectacular” you have been looking for.
  3. Be Willing to Receive- If you’re not willing to receive something then you’re not going to get it.
  4. Get Physical– break a sweat. lose yourself in a run. lose yourself in yoga for an hour. Sometimes getting out of your head and into your body will present the most spectacular results.
  5. Spend Time With People Who do Spectacular– We are most like the 5 people we spend the most time with. Make sure those 5 people are lifting you up, talking ideas, creating spectacular moments for themselves and others.

With a few adjustments you can add something amazing to your story everyday. What holds us back the most in most cases is fear. Fear of happiness, adventure, loss, etc.. Fear is natural, but being controlled by it is NOT.

Give up fear and create your Spectacular Life!

M O U N T R A I N I E R

“The danger of an adventure is worth a thousand days of ease and comfort” ― Paulo CoelhoVeronika Decides to Die

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This is the newest adventure I plan to embark on.  A short adventure, but an adventure nontheless. When a person looks back on their life will it be a collection of stories about other people who lived with a certain special passion, or will it be stories of their own?

I challenge those who feel a certain lack of adventure in their lives to seek a circumstance, an experience, a challenge, and when you encounter it, hold onto every second and be present in every moment. This can be your story.

My story gets better everyday. Yours should do the same.

A Breakthrough…. A Re-Ignited Fire

Last Sunday was an amazing day for me. For my journey. For my story. Last Sunday I competed was the Malibu Nautica Triathalon ( .5mile swim, 18mile bike, 4mile run). After months of training and a trial Triathalon a 2 months prior, I felt prepared. Truly prepared. 

As I walked up to the starting line surrounded by 200 other competitors, the fear and anxiety had subsided and a true sense of excitement was vibrating through my whole being.  Something I have not felt since my younger days of competition. In the past between the ages of 5yrs and 19 yrs old I had been a baseball player. Then at 19 something changed. 

At 19 yrs old I was playing division 1 baseball in California. Well, I should say I was sitting the bench on a Division 1 baseball team. Then the fateful day occured when I was cut. A 19 year old young man, first time away from home, starting a new life, was absolutely and completely destroyed. I cried for days. I wore my pain. Very few things had ever made me so sad.  It sounds dramatic maybe, but that was my life and it had been snatched away, taken, why? because I was not good enough. 

Let’s get back to the present day Triathalon now 11 years after. 

As the starting gun fired, the 200 competitors ran into the waves, wetsuits and swim caps, slower swimmers to the back, faster to the front, I was in the front. And in the front is where I stayed for the entire swim, passing others as I made my way along the swim course. 
As I got out of the water, I looked back to see most of the 200 people still behind me, very far behind me. That’s when something clicked, something that I had let get taken from me years ago, suddenly came back to me in one moment. I’d like to identify what exactly it was that I got back or worked through as I ran to the bike for the next leg of the Tri, but I don’t know. All I know is that at that exact moment, a spark ignited a fire inside me that had been out since the day I had been cut from the baseball team. 

That spark carried me through the entire race and into a 22nd place finish out of 200 Men in my division. That spark ignited a fire, the fire is burning with a new intensity, or maybe it’s the old intensity. Whatever it is, I’m overjoyed to have it back. I have been waiting for it to return and am grateful to not have to wait a day longer. 

Message to the reader: Compete… compete everyday at something that is difficult, train everyday for something that may seem impossible. With training you can have anything. 

To my friends who ran the race with me:    

George Sacco– Congrats on completing your first triathalon. I know you were in fear as the gun fired, but YOU DID IT! You’re a champion my friend. You trained hard and  you came through, and I’ve never seen a sister so proud of their baby brother, it almost brought tears to my eyes, if I did that sort of thing. 

Billy Lister– You’re a true inspiration.  When I think about quitting no matter where I am or what I am doing, I think of you and your dedication to being an amazing athlete despite any set backs you may incur. There is no Quit in you, and I know we are new friends but friends we are!

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From Left to Right. Billy Lister, Brian Griffin, George Sacco

 

Something to learn from Raphael Nadal

Winner Winner

Winner Winner

After watching today’s US Open Championship, we can take away a few good lessons from the super star tennis player Raphael Nadal. Stepping into the match as the underdog, coming back from a knee injury of last year, he proved the critics wrong by overcoming some awesome deficits and winning the US Open for the second time in his career.

Over and over again he battled his opponent until the opponent made a mistake. Over and over again he broke his opponent down and stayed consistent.

Lesson #1:  Don’t listen to the critics.

Lesson #2: If you battle harder than anybody else, you will eventually break their spirit and they will have no other option than to lose to you.

Lesson #3: You don’t have to play perfectly every time, just ALMOST every time. Too many screw ups and you’re not going to make it to the next set, match, game, meeting, etc…

Lesson #4: Be an ambassador of your action. Make it look fun, sexy, exciting, no matter what!! Make other people look at you and say “I want to do it just like that” INSPIRE