Picture Credit: Blair Warner

I’ve been dreaming about Everest since going to a movie at OMSI in 1998 when I was 10 years old. That was 21 years ago. 21 years man.

This October I am going to visit Everest (Chomolungma). I’ll be trekking through Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal for a month, visiting basecamp, Kala Patar and Gokyo Ri. 

And, I’d like to share a bit of my journey to Everest with you as it is happening in the most unexpected of ways.

A lot has happened in the last 21 years, both in my life and in the political and social community surrounding Everest. I’ve learned so much, grown through many painful experiences, and allowed my circumstances to shuffle more dreams than I am willing to admit onto the sidelines.

Recently, the most traumatizing experience I’ve grown through was a non-diagnosable foot ailment that left me unable to bear weight on my left leg. I couldn’t wear shoes, let alone ski boots and much of my identity as an athlete changed, quite literally overnight.

Through months of PT my mind reached a point of acceptance that I may NEVER be able to run, climb, and ski like I once did. I did not even purchase a ski pass that year, something I’ve had for the last 15+ years of my life and I turned down a coaching job because of my doubt that recovery was possible. My physical therapist started suggesting I seek counseling to help me through this chapter in my life. I spent many days crying, wishing to have my physical health and strength back. But that’s all it was… a wish. I had to face the bitter reality that I may never have the ability to run for a whole day through the mountains, summit towering peaks that reach far into the sky, and I’d never be going to Everest.

Then one morning, I woke up and made a decision… 

I was going to get well no matter what… each step I’d get stronger, each step was healing, “Stronger Steps” became my mantra.

And, my Everest goal became: To regain full strength and function of my mind and body, enabling me to trek to Everest Basecamp, Kala Patar, and Gokyo Ri from October 1, 2019, to October 31, 2019.

The real healing started when I made this decision.

That was a year ago, and I’ve been training ever since that day.

Slowly, one day at a time, one training session at a time, I got stronger.

I started wearing shoes again, walking and bearing weight on my foot, running 1/2 a mile, then a 5K (more like a trot or shuffle), 3 months later I put on a pair of ski boots again, I am talking baby steps man.

I started putting in training sessions in the gym like my life depended on it, because it did.

I got strong enough again to ski, and gratefully got the opportunity to coach for the season with the MAC club. I needed this boost to my spirit more than I knew.

A year later, and I am training for my first 1/2 marathon in over 3 years, I’m lead climbing 5.10b’s outside again, and Everest is in my sights. I’ve got a host of friends who have already been there and I love the conversations we have been having; Thor, Blaire, Richard, and Luke… you guys inspire the hell outta me.

My relationships are thriving, business is growing, and I feel physically, mentally and spiritually stronger than I have in the last five years.

I’m only 31 years old, but this experience almost took over my life, ruined hundreds of my dreams, and stopped me dead in my tracks (literally).

Over the next three months, I’ll be sharing my journey to Everest, my training, stories of inspiration, and hope that it helps light the wick inside you to not wait 21 years to turn your dreams into a reality, because the day will inevitably come in which some of our dreams truly are impossible.

May your desire and fire be more powerful than your doubts and fears. Keep climbing.