Susan's Blog

Everest Summit

Today, May 16, 2002, at 10:20 a.m. Phil and I stood on the Top of the World Together! 29,035’ above sea-level on the summit of Mount Everest. What’s next?

How Teamwork Helped Us Survive a Windstorm on Everest

You can endure extreme environments when you have a team you trust. In this video, you’ll see me at Camp 2 on Mount Everest, bunkered down with extreme wind blowing down the mountain and all around us.

This is an excerpt from the book that I wrote with my husband Phil, Together on Top of the World.

“Camp 2 is advanced base camp, so a lot of tents were set up there: a cook tent, a storage tent, tents for guides and Sherpas, a tent for me and Sue…We were just settling into our own tent…

The next morning, despite the forecast, we woke up to good weather… then, fierce wind higher up had made it impossible to climb. With this second warning, we took down the tents of climbers who were not currently at Camp 2 and put additional guy lines on all the others. I took some comfort from the fact that there were a lot of us in camp to tie things down if the wind turned out to be stronger than we expected. In early afternoon it began to blow. Sue and I hung out in our sleeping bags and talked and read. By mid-afternoon it was getting hard to hear each other over the wind. It must have been blowing at around at 60 mph. Fierce wind storms are common in the mountains but are usually short-lived, so I was surprised, as the day wore on, to feel the wind increase. In late afternoon I poked my head out the tent door. About twenty feet away our two dome tents—the cook tent and storage tent—were straining against their ties. There was no way they would make it if we didn’t fight the wind together to reinforce the guy lines.

Through the night the wind howled. Over and over we were awakened by the tent wall slapping our faces and pumice and ice battering the walls. When light came, the wind was as fierce as ever. The cook tent went down and we knew if the storage tent went, our expedition would be in a world of hurt.

Finally, around two in the afternoon the wind began to calm. When it was clear that the worst was over, I went outside to inspect the damage. Remarkably, the cook tent was the only one damaged. One of the Sherpas suggested that we use blue tarps to cover the ripped sections and we radioed Eric at base camp to send some up. Then we congratulated ourselves on our teamwork. It was only because everyone had pitched in that we hadn’t suffered potentially expedition-ending damage.”

Top of the Yellow Band

Here’s a special but challenging memory at the top of the Yellow Band, 25,000 feet, on Mt. Everest our first year. The Jet-Stream winds set in on our way up to the death zone.

Perseverance In the Face of Obstacles on Mount Everest

Perseverance is like a muscle that becomes stronger with exercise and practice. It’s a habit that enables you to approach every personal or professional challenge with focus and determination. We believe that perseverance is the key to a successful and rewarding life.”

In this video, Phil narrates as I climb up the ice flow—it was a much tougher session that we’d anticipated because of a collapse at the top. Tough or not, there was only one thing to do. Keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, take lots of little breaks, and keep moving toward my goal. 

“Perseverance is the singular quality that Everest summiteers and professional leaders have in common. They both recognize that pain is temporary. They persevere through thick and thin because they have an inner beacon of confidence to draw upon when the going gets tough. They also choose their teams with care. As Sue’s husband, Phil, often said, “Surround yourself with people who won’t let you quit.”

This is an excerpt from Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales: http://amzn.to/1QjlY9G