Archive for October, 2010

Wednesday’s Free Stress Donation

// October 27th, 2010 // No Comments » // Stress Donations

On Fridays I like to offer a stress free moment from my life.  I figure at the end of the week most people need at minimum a one minute break.  Today I want to offer the first in what I anticipate to be a lot of stressful moments.  These are intended for those people out there who are sipping mamosas most days, have a large bank account, perfect health, kids out of school or never had kids, don’t pursue extreme sports and enjoy seeing what the little people are up to.

Well here is what the little people are up to today:  Enjoy and make sure the volume is turned waaaay up.

Nov 1st Event @ CityRock Climbing Gym

// October 26th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Climbing, Events, Leadership

This is an update to the event happening November 1st in Colorado Springs at CityRock climbing gym: first join me for a national radio interview with Ryan Dobson from 10-11a.m. . then some climbing at CityRock indoor climbing facility ( from 1 p.m. – 3p.m.  I will give a brief presentation on some of my adventures and the debut of my new book. Immediately following the discussion, you will have the opportunity to experience an indoor climb with me and students from the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind  We are calling this event a “First Come First Serve” event in hopes that people who may wish to climb would first serve a member of the Deaf & Blind School before tieing in themselves.  I hope you can join us!

-Here is the best place to watch and listen to the interview with Ryan Dobson 10-11 a.m.

-Here is where the event will be held from 1 -3 p.m. immediately following (Colorado Springs)

-Here is a link to the group of students I will be climbing with

-Here is a link to the event page on Facebook:

Today’s Stress Free Moment

// October 23rd, 2010 // No Comments » // Stress Free Moments

Recently I gave a keynote presentation in Brownsville Texas.  Afterward I was able to have an escape on South Padre Island.  It was only a couple of hours long, but it was very refreshing coming from snow and rain in Colorad’s mountains.  Take one minute and have a vacation on me via Youtube.

Lost & Found

// October 19th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

Is it not always this way?  A day is designated as the day that so much work will get done your head will spin.  Nothing will move you from your desk and the piles of tasks will be reduced to a memory.  That is how my hopes of this day started out until…we received a phone call that the realtor wanted to show our house that is on the market, one of my twins got sick, and then while playing in the park as our house was shown I lost my wedding ring.  Perfect.  It now seemed that not only was my ring lost, but so too was my day.

I was running so fast that I’m surprised even the skin on my hands was able to stay attached (or so I wish) so how could a smooth White Gold ring?  As I chased a ball and my two year old daughter this ring slid off my finger into the tall, thick grass which hadn’t been mowed in a month.  As my legs carried me away I could feel it slip off and by the time I stopped was 20 feet away.  On my hands and knees, with a silent little prayer asking for help, I searched, sweating as my wife watched in horror – this wouldn’t be the first time I had lost a ring.  It wasn’t long when I realized that a metal detector would be needed.  A friend kindly picked one up and aided me in the search.  The device turned up nothing and just as he stopped to examine it, I spotted the shiny object deep in the turf below.  What a relief, and what a test.  Yes, most of my day was lost and my commitment to my wife does not depend on a ring, but it did serve to show me that we should not so easily give up on those things, or those people who are lost.  A little patience, a little prayer, a little faith and even when we feel we are lost – the good news is we will be found.

City Rock – Nov. 1

// October 19th, 2010 // No Comments » // Climbing, Leadership

I want to tell you about an event I have planned on Monday, November 1 in Colorado Springs. Please join me first for a national radio interview on  with Ryan Dobson from 10-11a.m. and then some climbing at CityRock indoor climbing facility ( from 5:30-7:30 p.m. I will give a brief presentation on some of my adventures and my new book. Immediately following the discussion, you will have the opportunity to experience an indoor climb with me and students from the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind.  We are calling this event a “First Come First Serve” event in hopes that people who may wish to climb would first serve a member of the Deaf & Blind School before tieing in themselves.  I hope you can join us!

Thank you in advance for your continued support. May God bless you and your future endeavors and may our paths cross soon.

For promotional copies of the book, interviews or inquiries you may contact Katie Gumm, publicist, New Leaf Publishing Group,

For speaking engagements you may contact me directly,

Go Higher!

Radio show and climbing extravaganza, book debut, presentation, good times first come first serve.  Colorado School for Deaf and Blind

A Standing O

// October 18th, 2010 // No Comments » // Leadership, Other

Just the other day I gave a keynote address to the St. Joseph’s Academy community Prayer Breakfast in Brownsville Texas.  When I was done addressing the audience I received a standing ovation.  This is certainly an honor and to be honest I find it most humbling.  I was able to stand up and talk about the faith that is required to climb the Everest’s that we all face, and the courage it takes to face mountains of doubt.  I shared about teamwork that goes beyond mere cooperation to accomplish common goals, and challenged people to depend on each other and on God as they persevered onward towards that end.  I shared from my climbing experiences and at the end of my time in this small border town found that I was the one who actually received a message.

The message I received was from those who give their all to the students and community in humility and hard work every day and make a difference in those lives.  In a short time I can say my life was touched by the warm reception, kindness, dedication to doing a good job, and the pride of a collaborative effort that makes the community strong.  I think they gave me a standing ovation because they understood the message, were already applying it, and felt as though someone understood them for who they are and what they are doing.

So now back home I stand and return the applause.  Keep up the good work, persevere and never give up on those you serve St. Joe’s.

Soldiers to the Summit Update

// October 11th, 2010 // No Comments » // Climbing, Hiking, Leadership

An update from my friend Erik Weihenmayer on his blind vision blog

Trials on the Trail

October 10th, 2010

October 10, 10:30am PHERICHE – I’m writing from Pheriche, 14,200 feet, and I’m blown away how well the team is performing. No major altitude sickness or injuries. In Namche Bazaar, we had a team discussion and each of us devoted the next day’s hike to someone on the team. I picked Katherine Ragazzino (aka: Rizzo). A couple months ago on our Colorado training hike she guided me for the 1st time ringing a bear bell in front of me and pointing out obstacles. Out of Namche we hiked together again up the long steep hill into Tengboche. She’s super positive and thrilled to be a part of this team. Her enthusiasm is infectious. Towards the top of the hill she started to get pretty tired. Chris Morris and I worked with her on finding a balance and a rhythm that she’ll need to sustain her. It’s about finding a good physical pace but also staying peaceful in your mind and not allowing your worries and anxieties to sap away your vital energy. At the top of the hill Cody Miranda, having reached the tea house, circled back and met us with high fives and a smile. It reminded me of 10 years ago when my Everest team would circle back for me, waiting along the trail with a candy bar and a soda.

This steep, rutted terrain is tough on Matt Nyman (single leg amputee). By the end of each long day his stump is rubbed raw from all the massive steps up and down and all the awkward angles of the trail. Descending is the toughest on him. Even though he is missing one leg, it’s his other foot that gives him equal trouble. That foot has major nerve damage from his helicopter crash and gives him pain with every step. I brought some new innovative mountain crutches called sidesticks, which were generously donated, and Matt says those are helping him a ton.

The day up to Pheriche was tough on blind vet Steve Baskis. The trail was endless, narrow, and very rutted with big jumbly piles of boulders. The day worked him, but he’s very fit with a big heart. Cody, Ike, and Brian had been guiding him all day. At the top of the long hill coming into Pheriche a group of us waited for him. It was getting chilly and we were covered in a cold fog. Jeff Evans helped him get his shell jacket out of his pack. I gave him my fleece hat. I could tell he was tired and frustrated. He said it’s not the blindness that frustrates him but his left hand which he can’t feel and suffers from severe nerve damage. His hands were cold and he was having trouble rifling through his pack for food and clothes. Later in the tea house I said to Steve, “This may sound stupid, but there’s a reason why you don’t see a lot blind people up here… because it’s freakin’ hard. I can relate. After you trip over your one thousandth boulder of the day it’s natural to get frustrated.” I told him it was a tough thing to stay disciplined in your mind, to stay positive, and to even embrace the miseries.

Today is a rest day and tomorrow we’ll be heading up to Lobuche base camp.


// October 8th, 2010 // No Comments » // Advice, Leadership

Focus in climbing, in photography, in work is very much dependant upon having an object or subject in the field of view and the result that one wishes to achieve.  Sometimes it is very narrow and precise showing only the detail of a person’s eye or face, and other times expansive to the point where that same person is just a speck on the ridge of a mountainside.  Similarly focus can relate to how we set goals for ourselves and can show the way toward attaining a seemingly impossible goal by breaking it down into smaller frames.  This photo shows the beautiful flowers on a mountainside with a high peak in the distance.  It shows us color, detail, and acute beauty but if our goal is to climb the peak in the background it does not provide much in the way of figuring out a navigable path.

The narrow focus

We regularly need this kind of focus to aid in the accomplishing of many of our daily tasks, but the danger is that we get so bogged down with these things that we lose sight of the main goal, the ultimate objective.  It can be refreshing and it can be intimidating, but we need to look up from time to time to adjust our focus to the big picture.

The Big Picture

Here we can again see where we are headed and chart our course.  The key is to continually shift the focus back and forth.  If focused on the peaks for too long we will either stumble over the objects in our path or become to overwhelmed to even move.  If we focus only on the path in front of us we may end up on another mountain all together.    Jesus had this totally figured out.  He could focus on the individuals who needed healing and compassion, but never focused only on that.  He saw the cross as the big picture and knew that even though it would be difficult, that is where ultimate healing would come from.  He could have set up a healing booth at the city gate, but the cross was bigger and would accomplish much more.

The Gift

// October 5th, 2010 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Living in a ski community has its challenges.  One of these challenges is that you never know who your neighbors are going to be when the snow flies as it is a very transient community.  For the past two years we have had renters next to us that have been much less than considerate when it comes to parking, snow removal, noise, garbage, and even friendliness or common courtesy.  Two winters ago it was 12 Argentine college kids living in a space meant for a single family.  They had cars with bald tires, no mufflers, and a truck that lay dead for five months in the driveway – no problem it makes a perfect receptacle for empty beer cans and garbage!  They left the house in desperate need of expensive repairs.  Last winter it was a little better, but largely more of the same.  So this undoubtedly leaves us excited for this year to see what surprise lies ahead as our neighbor has again rented out his house that shares a common wall and driveway with ours.

Just yesterday we met Teruro, one of our new neighbors.  He seemed friendly enough, though being from Osaka Japan he doesn’t speak much English.  He had rung the doorbell and upon seeing my little girls became animated and full of energy.  I began to wonder.  I offered to help him unload his car to which he replied “no problem.”  Minutes later as I settled in back to work I heard the doorbell chime again.  My first thought was “Teruro is going to be a handful.”  I went upstairs thinking I might be in for a long night only to find Teruro at the door with a gift for us.  Gotcha!  I had been caught with a stinky attitude.  Galatians 6:9 says “let us not become weary in doing good…as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…” funny how Teruro caught me off guard just as I was getting ready to share on this exact verse.  The true gift was to help me adjust my attitude.

Bear Wrestling

// October 4th, 2010 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

The Bear

This might happen to you all the time, but for me it was a first.  As I was sitting having dinner with my family I received a phone call from a friend – Justin.  He was breathing hard and speaking frantically, almost like he had taken some sort of drug.  He then said “I need your help!”  Immediately a million thoughts ran through my head, then he followed up with a “I just shot a bear!  Can you help me get him down the mountain?”  I looked at my wife, she looked at me and said “whatever you do wear clothes that you can throw away.”

I went to meet Justin in East-Vail where he had been hard at work moving this giant creature, by himself, as far as he could.  I brought up a piece of rope, tied it around the Bear’s front paw (about the size of my face) and then picked up the rope that Justin had been pulling on.  It was now dark and I couldn’t see that his knot had come undone, so when we pulled on the count of “three” the rope came loose and I flew five feet backwards straight into a tree.  The wind was knocked out of me a little and I still wear a bruise on my right rear cheek,  but thankfully there was not a branch down low which would have surely skewered me to the tree.

After what felt like a super-human effort we had this 500lb, 7+ foot beast loaded into the back of his work van.  I’ve lived in the mountains my entire life and have seen my share of bears while on hikes, bike rides, and even on my welcome mat at home.  I’ve always felt that should I encounter one face to face, with a wrestling match ensuing, that I could somehow figure out a way to get free of its clutches even if it meant playing dead.  Now having tried to move one, lift one, even just a leg, a paw, his head, I believe that I will continue to give them space and leave the wrestling to the animal trainers in Hollywood.  With my hands and my clothes stained with blood, I made it home and was forced immediately into a shower.  Justin, with the help of his family and a couple of other friends returned home to to build what will surely become a story for his kids to share on the playground for years to come.

(Hunting is used as a means to control the local bear population and Justin will use the bear to feed his family this winter.)