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New photos of the climb have just arrived!

July 6, 2014

The new professional shots have just arrived.

We were so lucky to have Jon Mancuso with us on the climb taking pro photos for us all, there are too many to show all at once so im breaking it down into stages for you…..first up is training day and the climb to camp Muir @ 10.500 feet….

check  out Jon’s website at….. http://www.jonmancuso.com

Just click onto any of the photos and you can see them in full size…..Cheers Mike

My thoughts on our return from Mt Rainier.

July 6, 2014

Mikes thoughts on Rainier.

Hey everyone, I wrote a email to the guys who climbed with us on Rainier and once I wrote it I thought it summed up the climb for me pretty well……As always I’m never sure if I should share all my private thoughts but you have all treated them well in the past so I’m happy to do so again…..

Cheers Mike

Hi Guys…

Well it’s been a week or so since we all came off the mountain and if your re-entry back to everyday life has been anything like mine then you have been fielding questions from family and friends about how the climb went.

It seems the more I talk about the climb the better I can explain to everyone what went on during the long 30 hour adventure.

I say 30 hour adventure but as we all know this climb took a lot longer than 30 hours, we all put in massive amounts of training, some maybe more than others but either way we all sacrificed family time or dug into time that was normally put aside for work or other day to day activities so the main event may have been 30 hours but the commitment and investment in this climb was far much more.

In reflection I now have a far better handle on my thoughts and can better explain how I now feel.

When I think back the questions started the second we walked off the snow and onto the paved car park…..

So!…. Dave asked…want to go back up?……I’m sure you can guess what my answer was……No Bloody Chance!

As days went by and I was able to feel my legs again, smile without re-cracking my lips and the sunburn on the backs of my hands stopped stinging in the shower I started to really think about what it was we have done and whether I would ever consider doing anything like Rainier again.
I can only really speak for myself but this climb was full of highs and lows for me…..

As far as the highs go its hard to go pass getting to meet your hero’s never mind knowing you get to hang out with them for the next few days.

I love the fact that we all summited and most importantly returned with zero injuries both physical and mental.

I really enjoyed the mental challenge that the climb put forward to us all, firstly getting your head around the massive bulk of the mountain itself then trying to break it down into small bite size pieces plus trying to keep your nerve in those “No Fall” zones.

As for the lows I had quite a few during the climb, I really thought I had prepared for the climb well and arrived at Rainier confidant that I was going climb strong and impress my experienced guides…..boy!….. Didn’t I underestimate the mountain and my ability?

There were several times even during the first part of the climb to camp Muir that I questioned what I was doing and wether I should even be attempting the climb, the altitude really messed with my head and for whatever reason all my training wasn’t translating to the effort we were putting in on the climb itself……that alone now seems to be the main reason for my frustration while on the hill.

My other low on the climb was more about disappointment, we were in such a beautiful environment and especially when the sun was coming up just before the summit and because I was so exhausted at that stage I really didn’t take it all in, with a fresh mind I would have taken just a little more time to just sit and take in the view and to make a more permanent mental picture.

So after a few days of reflection what did I learn?……well I learned that I’m tougher and more determined than I thought I was.

Over the past few years I have challenged myself in many ways both in business and in adventure and at times I had pushed myself to the limit…..or so I thought.

If I had listened to the voices in my head on the climb and had stopped when they told me too I then would have stopped somewhere near to top of the Cleaver ridgeline or going past the 13.000 ft mark or when I heard the call from someone saying only 300 feet to go, it seemed that every step toward the summit was a step in the wrong direction and my head new that.

One driving force behind wanting to reach the summit and our goal was fear of failure, we have over the past few years made our goals very public by telling everyone about what we are doing and by running our blog, by doing this it really drives us to complete what we started and to sit down and write on our blog why we didn’t complete our goal is not something I really ever want to do…..alot of people tend to sneak up on their goals, attempt them, then if their successful tell of their triumph which is fine however we enjoy the pressure and the support we get from everyone watching what we’re taking on.

What’s cool to me is that when I was sitting on the summit all I could think about was that I was only half way there…what the hell was I going to do to get back down the mountain, I felt I had pushed myself beyond my limit and that’s not a great feeling when your sitting at 14.411 feet.

What I discovered is that I was able to take a few deep breath’s…….steady myself…….suck it up and keep on going, not only to get myself down the hill but doing it while being roped up to my mates and with every deliberate step were able to navigate down the tricky trail all the way to base camp and safety.

It’s a great feeling now to have learned that when you think your broken and you’ve given everything you thought you had…….. That there’s always more inside and you just have to look a little harder to find it.

So would I climb again?……Hmmm……the answer to that is unclear to me at this time but my gut feeling is Yes…… I think when and if the right challenge presents itself I’ll be ready to jump on board for another crack however next time I’ll have this experience under my belt and go into the next challenge better prepared.

To wrap up I feel I can now say with certainly that yes I had a fantastic time on the climb, I met the challenge, I finished on my feet and know now that I could have kept going until the job was finished no matter how long it was going to take. I have left the mountain with more friends than when I started and the experiences from the climb will last a lifetime.

Cheers from Mountaineer Mike

Rockstars in Vegas!….what could possibly go wrong!

July 1, 2014

Vegas put on a show…..

Well the trip has come to an end and we’re sitting in the Qantas lounge at LAX before our flight home….

It certainly took a few days to recoup after the climb and even now Dave still has no feeling on the tips of some fingers from the cold and can’t crack a smile without splitting his lips open from the snow burn……I can now walk up stairs again and can even get down them from time to time even though I think I might need therapy before I look at another snow capped mountain…..

All in all we are wrapped with our efforts and it certainly has sunk in better now than it did the day we came off the hill, we can appreciate our accomplishment better with clearer heads and without doubt know that all the training we did for the past 6 months paid off.

Since leaving Seattle we jumped on a plane for Vegas for a little R&R and maybe a night or two of celebrating Rockstar style!

Of course in the true tradition of Vegas and Rockstar celebration discretion is mandatory however there are a few photos we can actually share with you all…..we decided sleeping was overrated and simply took a swing at everything we thought we could handle (and some we couldn’t)…

We managed to squeak in driving Nascar Racing Cars at the LV Speedway at well over 240km to 18 holes of golf buggy shotgun shooting (only in Vegas! right?!), sunset helicopter flights to the Grand Canyon (we managed to land on the bottom!) to driving Ferrari F430/Lamborghini Superleggara/Audi R8 v10’s at insane speeds, crazy shows and out of this world Vegas style day club pool parties…..we certainly used our time to the fullest and left the Rockstar stamp on every non-vanilla activity we could get our hands on.

Actually we have started seeding new ideas and challenges to encompass a non-vanilla adventure/business lifestyle but there will be more on this later…..

Again thanks for all the kind messages of support and as soon as I have the professional climb photos I’ll post them for everyone to see…..I’ll leave you with a few photos of our “rest & relaxation” in the sleepy town of Las Vegas.

Cheers from Mike & Dave – Mountaineers!

 

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The Rockstars successfully summit Mt Rainier

June 27, 2014

How to get your butt kicked?….climb Mt Rainer!

Well we did it guys…..at around 5.30am on Wednesday 25th June we made it!

We are now MOUNTAINEERS!… But it really was one of the hardest things we have ever done. The mountain did not care about us at all…..it made it as hard as possible.

Ed Viesturs and Peter Whittaker were better than we expected – true hard men and excellent guides. To summit we needed to apply specialised pressure breathing, rest stepping techniques, adjust to walking in full climbing boots and ice crampons, traverse 45+degree slopes where one slip literally means death, cross 300 feet deep crevasses and climbing in the dead of night to avoid softer snow (we departed high camp at midnight), past glacier ice falls- one of which contained 11 dead climbers still buried, all the climbing above 10,500 feet was in rope teams with avalanche transceivers to spread the risk of falls, over 100 switch back climbs on the upper reaches to negotiate, 30 hours of almost continuous climbing and a nine mile route down taking 12 hours which had very difficult shin deep snow with a 60 pound pack…

Seriously I thought this was going to be a difficult ‘hike’ but it was a real mountain with a very real challenge and to be perfectly honest it kicked our butts from one end to the other and it’s now a lot easier to understand why only 40% of people make the summit.

But not the Everest Rockstars! We had a 100% success rate. We can now stare down a mountain with a glint in our eye and call ourselves MOUNTAINEERS.

I apologize for the lack of photos on this post but there was very little to no chance to take photos on the climb itself as it was just to dangerous to pull a camera out while climbing and just about every time we did we would trip or go off-balance so as a result very few climbing photos……however we were thrilled to hear that on our climb Ed & Pete had arranged for a professional mountain photographer to tail us and document the climb from start to finish, we won’t see these photos for a week or so but as soon as we receive them I’ll have them up for everyone to see, what a great bonus and a big thanks to the guys and to John the photographer for the awesome surprise.

We want to take the chance to thank Ed & Pete for a fantastic-slash-agonizing climb and the great team of guys that made up our team that we met for the first time only a few days ago but are now new friends.

A massive thanks to our gorgeous wife’s and families and to everyone’s support…..we cannot thank you all enough.

Cheers and looking forward to sharing the photos with you and seeing you all soon….Mike & Dave

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So far so good….

June 24, 2014

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Our first full day on the hill.

So yesterday was a huge thrill for both of us, we arrived at Rainier base camp to pick up our gear and from across the car park comes a familiar voice….”Hey you guys must be the Aussies!”…and there he was the man himself Ed Viesturs, so cool that he knew right away who we were which made our first meting just so easy and comfortable, then came Peter Whittaker bounding over with a huge smile and greeting.

Both Ed & Pete have been exactly what we were hoping for and exceeded all expectations so far, both very personable and always with a story to tell and happy to answer any question we throw at them.

We hit the Mountain with them this morning to start our mountaineering training, they took us through everything we need to know spending a full day on the snow and ice practicing our ice axe rescue drills, how to use our crampons and training on pressure breathing and rest step climbing….a huge amount to take in but we feel we’re on top of it and ready for the start of the climb in the morning.

We hardly slept a wink last night and probably even less tonight, we defiantly have a huge challenge ahead and the guys certainly have not sugar-coated anything for us which to be honest is pretty terrifying……we’re nervous but ready!

We won’t be able to send any updates until our return so we look forward to sending you all good news in a few days…..

Cheers from Mike & Dave

We have arrived at Mt Rainier!

June 22, 2014

Our first real look at Rainier…

Well we got our first real look at Rainier tonight, as we approached the National Park, Rainier was out of sight until we rounded the last hair pin bend at the top of the range we were driving across….as we turned Rainier came into view just as you see it below, the sun had just dropped behind the mountain at 9.30pm….another 45minutes and we arrived at our lodge to rest up before we meet with Ed & Peter tomorrow and we start our mountaineering training on the lower slopes before the start of the main event Monday our time……

Talk soon…Mike & Dave

Our first real look at the 14,410 feet monster.

Our first real look at the 14,410 feet monster.

Rockstars Rock Seattle….

June 21, 2014

Our first couple of days have been busy….

Hey All, well we have arrived in sunny Seattle and hit the ground running….we felt we needed some “special” extra training……we needed a bright yellow muscle car to make sure we are seen when we arrive at the mountain…..we took some some photos of Rainier from Seattle so we recognize it when we drive out there tonight and of course we found a really nice local guy called Matt to train us in automatic weapons just incase we come across bears on the early part of our climb……

Alls going well so far and we will arrive in Rainier tonight for our first day of mountaineering school tomorrow…..talk soon!

Cheers Mike & Dave

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