Badassery Magazine November 2017 Issue 18 - Page 41

C limbing the highest mountain in Africa that claims about 10 fatal- ities each year is not for the faint-hearted. The reactions reaped by this fact are visceral – either people say No, thanks! or if they are like me: They figure out how to train for the feat and then they run toward it, hoping to summit its topmost peak on Kilimanjaro at the end of 5-8 days hiking. Although I did not reach the topmost Uhuru Peak at 19,341 feet after a 5-day hike in early October, I did reach the base on the second highest landmark at Gilman’s Point at 18,400 feet, despite feeling the most exhaust- ed and the coldest I’ve ever felt my entire life. My eyes were closed much of the way on sum- miting at midnight, just feeling and hearing my way a step be- hind my Tanzanian guide, Frank, and feeling terrified that I might lose my fingers and toes as frost- bite started (oh fun!) to set in as I felt freezing temperature almost immediately despite wearing ski gloves and 2 pairs of wool socks. Oh and don’t get me started on high altitude sickness. Although vomiting (oh joy!) did not happen until I got back to the Kibo base camp at 15,430 feet, during the midnight ascent I also tried to put out of my mind the fact that my temples and back of my head were throbbing as if 6” screws were slowly being drilled into the lobes. Thanks, high altitude sickness symptoms, you are a real doll! I did learn a few things about myself and about this badass mountain during my ascent from day 1 through day 5 of my hike that can be related to business or personal life: Do the hard shit, go for the gold, go big or go home. The phrasing varies but the message is the same: Visual- ize your biggest dream and the vehicle with which you will get there (e.g. for me it’s Kilimanjaro and the vehicle is my physical and mental state via hiking for 5 consecutive days; or, it’s hit- ting New York Times bestseller list – a holy grail for authors like myself and it’s still a dream of mine and I’m going to get there one day). If you can dream big and know the vehicle with which you will achieve that dream, you will stretch your potential and give yourself the permission to be phenomenal, and visualiz- ing that very possibility is step numero uno. Six months ago I began training for the big hike and that given enough time and preparation, I knew that I could probably do it. It is believing that I CAN and going after big goals that I am able to accomplish what I have done. So although I did not reach the highest peak on the mountain that locals affectionately refer to as “Kili”, I did reach my highest personal record of 18,400 feet elevation, and I walked away feeling pretty good about it. Sow the seeds and reverse en- gineer your process. I dreamt of being atop one of the continental peaks in the world but I knew six months ago I probably couldn’t summit when I hadn’t had training or condi- tioning. So how do I get there? I sowed the seeds – trained and hiked as often as I could in my home state of California for six months; researched via talking to people who have hiked Kili- manjaro and did online research as well; put all the wisdom and advice I had received before my trip into my training hikes with regards to pace, hiking essentials, safety, and preventive measures against high altitude sickness. And I reverse engi- neered my process. One does not make a gigantic jump from a so-so, infrequent hiker like I was in April 2017 to an avid hiker able to get near the roof of Africa without stepping stones. So my method in reverse engineering the training stepping stones in six months were: Hike for 10 hours a day while carrying a 20-lb pack to reach approx 11,000 ft elevation  hike for 8 hours a day while carrying a 20-lb pack to reach approx 10,000 ft elevation with steep incline in the first 2 hours  hike for 8 hours a day while carrying a 15-lb pack at 8,500 ft elevation with a 1,500 ft in- cline in the first hour and a half  hike for 8 hours a day while carrying a 10-lb pack at 8,000 ft elevation with gradual, slow in- cline with many switchbacks  hike for 6 hours a day while car- rying an 8-10-lb pack at 4,500 ft elevation with gradual incline. And so on and so forth. The learning curve to whatever new thing you are doing and the build-out of your business could be steep, but there are 40