Category: Goals

20090905_174aI recently attended an auction for my good friend, David Heyting (#DefeatGoliath), who’s battled a brain tumor for the past 5 years.  He’s had to face many challenges beyond surviving…doctors, insurance, etc.  His advice through all of it has been to ‘be your own advocate’.  You have your best interest in mind and must look at all options and question authority to ensure the path is accurate for your future.

David’s approach applies in all areas of life.  I remember growing up in the small town of Rogue River, Oregon where I was the shortest guy in my class until I was a senior in high school.  Being the little guy, I was consistently thought of as incapable or too young (because I looked really young).  This really shaped my personality where I became my own advocate, working harder to prepare and overachieve in everything, which then earned me positive attention.  This carried on into my military career where I was young-looking and skinny going through some of the toughest Navy training – Air Rescue Swimmer School.  The instructors rode me hard, but I never gave up, knowing that I could do anything if I kept my focus and never quit.  I took the confident perspective that if others could do it, then I could do it…better.  It took me years of accomplishments and letdowns to realize that overachieving wasn’t as important as accepting my strengths and weaknesses.  We are all individually wired differently and accepting that brings peace, which is what I try to model for my children.

You will need to rely on others along the way, but nobody knows you better than you. You don’t need to be self-centered (we have too much of that in this world) or excessively overachieve, but you do need to take control of your destiny.  The small choices you make now can have a great impact in the future.

A commonsense person lives good sense; fools litter the country with silliness. Proverbs 13:16

Lake LouiseI’ve been thinking about courage lately.  What is courage?  What does it take to be courageous?  Since I get a lot of media coverage and public speaking engagements for surviving blind and alone on Mount Everest, I’ve been called many things, good and bad…one being courageous.  A few decades ago my job was to jump out of US Navy HH-60H helicopters in the middle of the ocean to save downed pilots.  Perhaps it takes courage to risk your own life to save another, but none of my SAR (Search and Rescue) buddies would have called it that.  It’s just what we did.  This past decade I’ve climbed mountains on the 7 continents with a solo summit of both Everest and Aconcagua.  Some would say it takes courage to climb big mountains.  I think it’s just how I’m wired and what I do.

As each year quickly passes as a father and husband, I’m reminded to ‘be still’, embrace the moment and reflect on the past.  It’s not my nature to live in the past since I’m a goal-setter, very driven and live for the adventure.  But with each talk or media appearance I’m asked the same resounding question, “what’s next”.  I typically rattle off some canned adventurous response that aligns with my past, but lately I’ve been pondering the question more and more.  Why does there have to be something next?  I think it’s the obvious question for an audience after they’ve heard what I’ve accomplished and survived, but I also think it plays into our society where we always want more.  Or we’re expected to deliver more.  If you do a good job at work you’re typically rewarded with more work!  I see these compulsive behaviors a lot in extreme athletes.  It’s the feeling that you have to continually challenge yourself and accomplish amazing feats or else you’ll let yourself or others down.  Plus athletes can feel the pressure with social media fans and sponsors.  There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself and experiencing the world as long as it’s done for the right reason.  Too much of anything can be a bad thing, so do things in moderation.

So what’s next for me?  I’m not one to try to top what I’ve done, but that also doesn’t mean I’ll completely quit living life to it’s fullest.  My family is my life so my focus remains on them.  To be a present father and model good behavior and values to my kids.  To be a present husband and build my wife up so she can shine the way she was created to shine.  And I’ll continue to do amazing adventures but not because I’m expected to, but because it’s who I am.

What will you do next?


Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


IMG_2284aI recently posted a poll on Twitter asking who’s ever wondered what it would be like to stand on the summit of Everest. The mass majority had indeed wondered. And I think the numbers would be even higher if people weren’t probably reformatting the question in their mind to whether they would ever attempt it. I ask this question often in my talks to businesses and organizations since it’s an interesting one to ponder. Most people will raise their hands since it’s so intriguing to think about being up there. Even having been there alone on the summit in 2011, it’s still amazing to think back and continually process those brief moments spent on top. It’s the highest point in the world, standing at 29,035’ with only 1/3 of the air as there is down at sea level. It’s a place that very few will ever attempt and much less will succeed in achieving.

Everest Poll

Mount Everest is a pinnacle goal for most mountaineers, but it’s not a possibility for most. And that’s totally fine since we are all wired uniquely and whatever adventures or fitness goals you have, own them and go after them at full force. The current state of the world is very unpredictable and it’s never been more true that you should live each day to it’s fullest.

As 2015 comes to an end, the world’s population will look at the next year to make resolutions of things to stop and start doing. I will get a bunch of people asking if I’ll take them on local climbs, who will end up finding reasons to not follow through once the time comes. The fact of the matter is it’s easy to stimulate excitement in creating a vision of a better self but it’s very difficult to shift our busy schedules and habits to create a new adventurous and healthy lifestyle. I can provide as much guidance as possible but in the end it’s up to the individuals to create change.

Most people are used to seeing my adventures, pics, video and motivational posts on social media. I’ve decided to end 2015 with a new agenda, to provide some simple guidance for 2016. Watch for my posts hashtagged #2016Goals over the next month. Look inward to identify what you want your future self to look like and then create goals and an action plan to make it a reality in 2016!

Also subscribe to my YouTube channel to see new raw footage of my worldly adventures.

Psalm 20:4 “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

Denali (Mount McKinley) – the great one – the highest peak in North America20150530_258

I love and hate Denali, but more hate.  It’s a brutal peak nestled in the Alaskan Range.  I’ve had 3 expeditions (1 guided and 2 that I led) over the past 6 years and it’s my final summit of the 7 summits.  At 20,320′ I’ve already summited 3 other peaks higher – Everest, Island Peak and Aconcagua, however Denali’s unpredictable weather has prevented me from standing on top.  As a goal oriented person I tend to be full in on driving toward my accomplishments but with experience and respect for the mountains I’ve come to learn that it’s not alway about the summit.  There’s a lot more in life than just standing on top of a mountain, but even falling short is better than not falling at all.  Adventure is vital to our existence.

A couple weeks ago my buddy, Jason, and I flew to Anchorage and drove to Talkeetna to make another attempt (his first) on Denali (McKinley).  We trained hard throughout the year with 70lb+ packs regularly scaling the local Cascade peaks in our backyard.  With any expedition you go in fully prepared with a plan and high expectations that the mountain will cooperate with favorable conditions.  Not the case with Denali, which has a small climbing season each May / June.  This May the mountain saw several teams but sent them all home with their dreams crushed.  Zero summits until the very last days of May.

On May 28th Jason and I efficiently made our way through a series of camps to reach 14,000′ (camp 4) in 4 days.  This is almost 15 miles carrying 50lbs in a pack and 50lbs+ in a sled at altitude.  We cached some gear (food / fuel / sleds / snowshoes) at the 11k camp and did a full carry (75lbs+) up to camp 4 (14k).  We then rested a day, climbing to the top of the fixed lines at 16.5k the following day.  After that we felt fully acclimated to make a move to high camp and a summit attempt.  It was great meeting up with familiar faces from around the world (Chile, Antarctica, Himalaya, etc.), plus the Disabled Veterans group and some Polish climbers.  However our plan was quickly shutdown with a storm hitting the mountain, pinning us down at 14k for almost a week with 2-3′ of snow dumping per day, moderate winds, -25f temps and zero visibility.

On an expedition like Denali you plan out your days with food and fuel rations.  This includes what you need up at particular camps in case weather forces you to stay longer than expected.  We planned for 21 days on the mountain so we were fine for the time being. However you have to plan for weather down at basecamp as well in case planes can’t come to get you.  During the time we were stuck up higher there were 70 people stuck at basecamp for 5 days waiting for a flight off the Kahiltna Glacier.  After 9 days on the mountain, majority spent confined to our tent at 14k, we had a 1 day ‘break’ in the weather.  We spoke to other groups in camp.  All from 17k (high camp) were descending without a summit attempt and the majority at 14k were gonna head out later or hunker down (conservative approach).  A few said they were going to move higher in hopes for a wishful summit attempt.  Jason and I discussed all scenarios and in the end decided it was better to make a break for basecamp rather than getting stuck higher for another week.  It’s a tough decision to make after we’d put so much into the climb and were so close to standing on top, but since our satellite phone stopped working 3 days prior we felt that it was also important to get back to our worried families.  The mountain would be here in the future if we decided to give it another shot in the future.

We packed up and headed down below the cloud layer from 14k to 11k.  With the fresh snow fall we were moving quickly and attentively to avoid potential avalanches, which we heard a few kick off earlier.  Then 40 mins into the descent a whiteout cloud cover hit us without warning.  Visibility went from 100% to zero right after the area called Windy Corner.  I slowed us down and used my Cascade Mountain Tech trekking poles as a probe to check for hidden crevasses as I looked for wands (trail markers placed by GPS coordinates from NPS members).  My pole punched through the glacier with nothing below it and I paused to call out ‘crevasse’.  I slowly crept sideways and forward until a small wand came into view.  At that point above me I heard Jason yell as he partially punched through a hidden crevasse, but quickly removed himself from the danger.  A few yards more he punched through another one.  With each one I stabilized myself down the hill to ensure I had leverage to stop a serious fall.  I was completely blinded by the whiteout at this point and was in constant prayer to help gain guidance to the next wand.  I came down an area called Squirrel Hill and heard an unusually calming yell from Jason.  I looked back and all I could see was his head.  I got down on the ground and quickly placed a picket into the snow and anchored the rope to prevent him slipping deeper into the crevasse.  He stepped right through a bergshrund (area of glacier that separates from the mountain) and was hanging by the rope with 100’s of feet of exposure beneath him.  He said he didn’t mess his drawers but I wouldn’t blame him if he had.  He was able to take his pack off and climb out.  I used a prussik to bring him in closer to ensure he was ok and then talk about the situation.  We were blind moving down to 11k with winds picking up.  We needed to maintain our course and slowly, carefully make our way down the mountain.  I let him know that if it got too bad we could dig a snow cave or anchor the tent down with ice screws in certain areas (I had done this in the same area in 2012 due to different circumstances).

We moved in constant prayer and then out of nowhere I saw 2 skis crossed in the middle of the trail.  I moved toward them then a light seemed to shine down directly overhead guiding a path for us.  One wand appeared at a time as we slowly moved forward.  Then the area opened up as we reached the other side of the snow field.  At this section the winds kicked up to 60mph+.  The ice we stepped on was bulletproof.  One slip could have been tragic.  Then without warning my right crampon popped off.  They were super tight so this came without warning, but it made me pause to put it back on and assess the situation.  The only time this had ever happened before was when I was descending Everest blind down the South Rock Step when I took a fall and the fixed line shock loaded and saved me.  As I put the crampon back on a sense of fear came over me.  I looked forward at the hurricane force winds and signaled Jason to reverse out of there.  We hunkered behind a crevasse berm and waited for the winds to die down a bit.  I could tell he was getting exhausted but I told him he needed to dig deep and move when I was moving.  We could rest at 11k in our tent. After 20 mins there was a small lull in the winds and I said let’s go.  We moved quickly but with deliberate steps as to not trip and pull the other off the side of the mountain (1000’s of feet of exposure…certain death).  We made it down to the platform above our final obstacle before camp 3, which was Motorcycle Hill.  It is plastered with crevasses and overhanging snow / ice called cornices, which broke loose in an avalanche and killed 4 Japanese climbers in 2012 (they still remain in the crevasses).  We rested for a few minutes and switch to ice axes, which made stability worse because of the heavy packs but would give us a better chance of stopping a fall with self arresting on the axe.  We got up and moved, anticipating the high wind gusts and leaning into them then moving with any lull.  We made it up and over the top and descended down, avoiding crevasses but encountering waste deep snow.  It took us an hour to get down through the snow, which would normally take 15 minutes.  As we reached camp an Austrian climber approached us with hot drinks.  The entire camp had been watching us descend and congratulated us on making it through the unexpected storm (unexpected at lower altitudes).  It just goes to show how fast things can change on the mountain and how you have to be prepared to stay calm and react at any moment.

A super nice Swiss couple helped us dig out and build a camp for the night.  We also found our cache from a week earlier and dug it up for our descent. At 3am the next morning we woke up and packed for our 10 mile descent to basecamp.  It was snowing 3′ a night and we took turns post holing through waste deep snow with 100lbs+.  It took over 10 hours to get to basecamp, with one of the most brutal descents I’ve experienced.  Several other groups followed hours later and thanked us for creating a trail for them.  I guess someone had to do it.

In mountaineering there’s so much more than just reaching the summit. Obviously you need a goal, which is the summit, but the ultimate goal is getting home safely.  I continue to learn so much about the mountains and myself.  Through my years of experiences I’ve put less and less importance on the summit and more on the adventure itself.  Denali continues to elude me, but that’s ok.  There’s plenty of other mountains out there and maybe some day I’ll head back.  For now I’m at peace with coming within 1000′ of the top.

“A song of ascents. I lift up my eyes to the mountains– where does my help come from?” Psalm 121:1

After 2 unsuccessful summit attempts on Denali, I’ll be heading back in 2 months. Denali or Mount McKinley is the highest peak in North America located up in the Alaska Range. It stands at 20,320’ but due to it’s location so high in the northern hemisphere the barometric pressure makes it feel like 23,000’. It is the last remaining summit for my 7 summits quest – highest peaks of the 7 continents. It differs from the rest in that you carry 50lbs+ in your pack and another 50lbs+ in a sled for the first 15 miles at altitude across some treacherous terrain. The weather is very unpredictable and you have to really plan out your food, fuel and clothing for worst-case scenarios, which tend to come regularly.

My first attempt was in 2009, guided by Alpine Ascents. Most of our team was strong and it took us a little over a week to get to high camp at 17,000’. We were pinned down (couldn’t move) for a week due to high winds and cold temps. In fact it was so cold that I could see the moisture in my breath freeze around my sleeping bag.  A solo climber (not in our group) tried to make the top, was blown off and still hasn’t been found. We made an attempt on the following day with 60mph winds and below zero temps. We came within 1000’ from the top, but decided it was a good day to live and turned back. It was a good expedition since we all made it back safely, uninjured and with several lessons learned.

In 2012 I went back as the leader of a 2-person team. I decided to split-board the route up to 14,000’ then climb with crampons to the top. Split-boarding is where you split a snowboard in half and use them as skis with gripping cloth called skins. This balances your weight and helps you glide while climbing uphill. For the descent you then attach the board back together and snowboard. Sounds good on paper but I ran into some issues where the equipment and friction of my boots caused severe burning of my feet – down to the bone. It was very painful and I decided to turn back after nearly reaching high camp.

Hopefully my 3rd time is a charm. This May, a few days after my wife’s 40th birthday, I’ll be heading back up with my friend, Jason. We’ve climbed Rainier and other peaks together and have a mutual respect for the mountains. We are climbing the West Buttress route on Denali and if all goes well I’ll complete my goal to stand as high as possible on each of the 7 continents. If for whatever reason we aren’t able to summit then, well it’s a mountain and it’ll always be there to make another attempt in the future.

Mountaineering will humble you and force you to either persevere or find another hobby. Just like anything in life I’ve learned more during my failures than my successes. Life can be frustrating when things don’t go as planned but sometimes you have to stop and realize that your life’s plan isn’t truly your plan at all.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”James 1:12

TrekViewaDo you ever reach a point of burnout that you don’t feel you can recover from?  I’m guessing yes.  Growing up I don’t recall having that issue since I was more bored than anything.  In the 1980’s I didn’t have a computer or cable TV so I was forced to inspire my own creativity. I built forts, obstacle courses on the mountain I lived on, rode bikes with friends and climb local peaks with my dog and just sat and daydreamed.  Now if I have an extra second of time I fill it with something.  It’s the same with work, hobbies, family…pretty much anything.  We live busy lives and the onslaught of technology has become a gap filler.  I regularly detect my burnout meter approaching redline and I have to slow life down to reshuffle things.  And since I share the house leadership role with my wife we have to ensure our kids aren’t overcommitted either.  We want to model good behavior, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds.

Recognizing your load capacity and allowing 20% of fluctuation is a survival mechanism.  If you constantly run at 100% then your body will eventually shutdown.  Have the courage to say no!  Nobody else will regulate your abilities, so if you continually say yes and take on additional tasks then your job, friends, social groups, etc will continually add to your load.

Step away from the norm.  Get out and exercise!  This is critical for me in that I tend to balance a lot of different things but when I can get out for a hike or run I’m able to release a lot of the burnout stress and refocus.  It’s amazing how anchored we become in our daily routines, making it seem impossible to step away for 30 minutes to an hour.  Force the issue, it’ll pay dividends!

*I purposely kept this short to not add to your burnout load. 🙂

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 (NIV)

Superbowl XLIX was one of the most exciting I’ve seen in my 40 years.  However this year will be remembered for a couple things; deflated balls and a “poor play” decision with the game on the line.  Sports are tough since players and fans get overly emotional and a last minute loss can cause depression, invading individual’s personal lives.  I’m guilty as I consider myself an honorary member of the Seattle Seahawks 12th man.  Even though we won the NFC Championship 2 weeks prior with a miraculous comeback, I was in an emotionally trance for a few days replaying the last 2 minutes.  This year’s Superbowl was the same where we had it won, even after giving up the lead with minutes left in the game.  We just had to continue our momentum and give the ball to Marshawn Lynch (Beast Mode) to plow through one final yard to the end zone for the Hawks to be back-to-back champions.  Not so much, the decision was made to throw a short pass, which was intercepted by the Patriots, thus deflating Seahawks fans around the world.

There’s a great lesson to be learned from all of this.  You learn a lot more from failures in life.  You just don’t think as much about the successes as you do the failures.  They haunt you, you replay them and figure out ways to avoid them in the future.  In the military and in the mountains you live and die by the decisions you make.  You’re given information within your reach (possibly some additional intelligence) and based on your experience you calculate your risks to ensure you and your team come out alive.  In some cases you avoid the risk completely due to it’s greatness (i.e. weather conditions on a mountain).  Hindsight is perfect, especially to everyone not involved in the process, but in the moment you make the decision and live with the consequences.  For the Seahawks it didn’t work out so well, but in the end it’s a game and nobody loses their lives.  Players and fans may go through the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) but time will heal.

In the military, business and mountaineering I’ve worked with some good and bad decision-makers, but the worst of all are the ones that sit on the fence paralyzed by choices.  I have a lot more respect for someone that makes a wrong decision than one that refuses to make one.  Progress, to me, is moving forward or back.  Even if you make a mistake and move back, you’ll learn and be better moving forward. I’m happy for Tom Brady and the Patriots, as they are a solid team.  In any competition there are winners and losers.  Losing stinks, but it’s an opportunity to embrace the moment, gain some perspective and come back stronger!

The Seahawks have been very professional and classy, all taking credit for the team decision.  Russell Wilson continues to impress me with his consistent behavior as a faithful leader on and off the field.  We definitely need more role models like him in the world.  Go Hawks!NFC Championship Football

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11


#Seahawks #GoHawks #SBXLIX

2015 Personal Hell Week Training (Choose your own adventure)

Courtesy of AIRR Facebook page.

Courtesy of AIRR Facebook page.

Hell Week is generally known from the 3rd week of SEAL training (BUD/S – Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL).  Trainees are put through 5.5 days of rigorous physical, mental and emotional hell with only a few hours of sleep.  In the end it’s not about the strongest person, but the ones that truly want it.  Many other military training programs have unofficial Hell Weeks.  There are several purposes to go through such tough training as it breaks you down (physically, mentally and emotionally) beyond what you ever imagined, but it also gives the instructors a check of who’s worth investing the time and money to take to the next level.  High attrition rates are due to this intense type of training.  If you’re going to quit halfway then you’re just putting yourself and others at risk, which could mean death out in the fleet.

I like the concept for many of the same reasons.  In Aircrew and AIRR (Air Rescue Swimmer School) we had weeks we called “Hell Week”, nothing compared to SEAL training, but it’s all relative.  Most days were hell since we worked to the point of exhaustion before entering the water to conduct multi-victim rescues. In the end it was all worth the pain when the going got tough and we were able to perform in extreme situations.  In mountaineering I’ve continued the same mind-set.  It’s better to train hard and be miserable at sea-level than high on a mountain.  It’s a part of working on the things you can control, since things out of your control (altitude, sickness, weather) will later test your true capabilities.

Since I’m training for another Alaska mountaineering expedition I’ve decided to create a Hell Week in January to develop a baseline of fitness.  You are welcome to join me, but make it your own regimen.  We all have unique training programs so the last thing you want to do is force fit what I’m doing into your schedule.  Come up with a training schedule that compliments your lifestyle, but pushes you beyond your limits.  i.e. If you ride 20 miles a day then increase it to 40 miles and add some additional cross training.

*Disclaimer – you’re doing this at your own risk so please ensure you’re physically and mentally capable.  Safety and self-awareness is important to ensure you don’t injure yourself.  Be sure to properly estimate your fitness ability prior to diving in over your head.

My hell week – 1/26 – 1/31

Here’s my schedule for 7 days:

(Mon – Fri)

Climbing with 60lbs – 5 miles (3-4000’ elevation gain)
100 pushups
100 crunches
100 kettlebells
6 mile run


Climbing with 80 lbs – 8 miles (3-4000’ elevation gain)
100 pushups
100 crunches
100 kettlebells
8 mile run

(Sun) – Rest

Nutrition is very important with any workout.  You burn more calories so you need to eat and drink more. It’s not an excuse to eat unhealthy food, but really hone your nutrition during this week to see how much better you feel.  I tend to eat 3 balanced meals a day with lots of healthy snacks in between.  Figure out what works for you and make it happen.

The key to success is goal-setting, execution and discipline.  Create a lifestyle with no excuses and complete each daily task.  There will be times when you want to quit, but don’t.  No excuses!  We all have busy lives..adjust your schedule…power through it and enjoy the rewards!

Post your regimen and daily accomplishments on Twitter using: #BDHellWeek  I’ll do the same.

Good luck!

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Many talk about what they are going to do but there’s always some barrier (excuse) blocking their ability to accomplish their goals.  This is a major pet peeve of mine, but it also plays into my personality.  I’d rather remain silent and accomplish things rather than boast about them and never do them. To me, that’s embarrassing. For the past month I’ve been traveling a lot and away from my family.  Anyone who knows me or has read my book, Blind Descent, knows that my family is everything. But life happens and since I have to be on the road I decided to create an adventure.  I didn’t really tell anyone (other than JoAnna and a few friends), I just sat down and mapped out an ultra hike in the area I was going to be and then did it.  I was working in Raleigh and potentially had a weekend to blow so I created a plan to hike the highest peak in the 4 surrounding states.

  • North Carolina – Mount Mitchell 6684′
  • Virginia – Mount Rogers 5729′
  • Kentucky – Black Mountain 4145′
  • Tennessee – Clingsman Dome 6643′

Originally I planned to hike 6 states but time didn’t work in my favor so I had a contingency plan.  I’m pretty spoiled living in the Pacific Northwest with our amazing Cascades, but each part of the world has a unique beauty worth experiencing.  I was happily surprised at the beauty of the mountains in this area.  In 2 days I drove over 800 miles and hiked over 32 miles.  Most of the high points are drivable with a lookout area, but that’s not how I roll.  People looked at me like I was crazy as I ran the Appalachian Trail.  I basically drove, ran the trails then drove to the next, etc.  I slept in the back of my rental car at the base of Black Mountain in Kentucky, woke up and ran to the top to watch the sunrise through the dense trees.  The summits themselves aren’t overly spectacular compared to some higher mountains I’ve climbed on the 7 continents, but the journey and experience was worth the effort.  Plus one peak alone isn’t a challenge but compressing 4 in a weekend is rarely heard of.  As I reached the top of Mount Rogers in Virginia some folks camping asked when I started.  I let them know that I began the 6 mile trailhead a little over an hour ago but I had come from Raleigh earlier that morning and already hiked Mount Mitchell in North Carolina. They said, ‘you’re joking right?’

On Sunday I wrapped up my adventure with a 13 mile trail run up Clingsman Dome in Tennessee.  After a little over an hour I breached the area where 99.99% of people drive to.  Sweaty and happy I walked up the spiraling observatory to look out at the foggy Smokey Mountains.  I overheard several people complaining about the struggle of the walk from the parking lot to the tower.  Many kids never even noticed the view because they were walking with iPads covering their faces as they played video games.  On one hand it’s great that they were out there rather than at home behind a TV, but on the other hand the parents weren’t setting a good example.  I’m a big proponent of getting our kids outdoors to experience life.  Put down the electronics and use their imaginations.  Explore life, don’t just exist!

After a few minutes on top I ran the 6.5 miles down the windy road rather than the trail.  As cars passed I stepped off the road to not annoy the drivers, but more importantly to not get hit by distracted drivers.  In the end I succeeded in my adventure.  I didn’t tell others what I was doing (other than my wife and a few friends), I just did it. To me, that’s living life to it’s fullest!

What have you been talking about doing?  Life is precious, tomorrow may never come so start your adventure today!

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

_mitchell _rogerroger _black _cd



20100723_123The planning phase of an adventure is one of the most exciting parts of the journey.  It’s where you somehow come up with an audacious goal, brainstorm and start imagining the possibilities.  As a fairly big goal-setter I tend to spend a lot of time planning out what’s next.  I don’t limit this to personal achievements but also plan work ventures and family experiences. It keeps me driven otherwise I don’t feel like I’m living life.  Others are fine with regular routines and average / safe life experiences, and that’s great, but that’s not me.

Creating a goal is based on opportunity, timing, ability and finances.  If I’m traveling somewhere for work I try to find something unusual in that area that I can explore, typically in the form of mountaineering.  I have something on the East Coast coming up where I’m planning an ultra climb of multiple peaks in a very small timeframe.  Stay tuned.

Goals create purpose and motivation.  When you live to just survive the week, you’ll probably survive but you probably won’t smile much.  Like having faith a goal gives you direction and a reason to keeping pushing forward in life.

Cliche warning – Accomplishing goals is the ultimate challenge but I don’t feel it’s as important as the journey there.  You learn so much along the way and many times realize your end goal wasn’t even close to what you were searching for.  In the end you develop better habits of small goal creations and attainable accomplishments.  This is a fantastic trait to display by actions to your children to prepare them for the real world.

“For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.” Ecclesiastes 5:3