Every day, a group of teenagers would come by his home and throw rocks at it. The old man did everything he could to stop the mischievous boys from throwing those rocks. Nothing he did seemed to stop their behavior. In contrast, the young men seemed more encouraged than ever to keep throwing. In desperation, the old man met with the boys and struck a deal.
For that reason, I am willing to pay each of you a dollar every day that you throw rocks at my house. As understood, the old man happily paid them a dollar each. Would you be willing to consider fifty cents? Then another few days went by before the old man approached the boys with more bad news.
I cannot afford to pay you fifty cents a day. However, I could still pay you each a dime for throwing the rocks. What happened? Before, the boys were willing to throw rocks for nothing. They were "internally" motivated by the sense of adventure, variety, bonding, element of risk, and desire to belong. When they began accepting money for throwing rocks, their motivation slowly shifted to external resources - financial reward. In a short time, they forgot why they ever did it to begin with.
When the financial rewards were eliminated, their motivation was gone. This little story explains exactly the way I feel.
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Once in a while I hear stories about extraordinary people overcoming great odds on the way to recovery from a major accident or injury. Let me share his amazing story with you. Tshering was born 46 years ago in Kharikhola, a small village in the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal. This part of the Himalayas has given us some of the strongest climbers on earth, in part because of its altitude above sea level. But Kharikhola is only about 2, meters high, which is significantly lower than most of the other Sherpa villages.
His father was one of the village Lamas and he was the fourth of six children. He had three sisters and two brothers. He lived a normal childhood until age 5 when, as was traditional for the second son, he entered the local monastery. As a monk he was given a new name: Nawang Nuru.
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He grew up in the monastery and received a much better education than the average child in Nepal. He spent 3 years in the monastery at Tengboche at 3, meters with panoramic views of Mount Everest and surrounding peaks. In Nepal, like in other countries in South Asia, it is traditional for the oldest son to be the financial support for the whole family, especially to take care of their aging parents.
Tshering had one older brother that worked as a trekking guide but that completely refused to give any money to his family. This rejection was hurtful to the parents and put the family in a difficult position. Because of his family duties, Tshering was forced to leave the monastery after 15 years at age 20 to go to work.
He would have to support his parents and the rest of the family financially. In his place, I would have been terrified. He left his monk robes behind and travelled to Kathmandu. Before satellite internet and mobile phones, expeditions would communicate with the outside world by having people run up and down the mountain with letters and telegrams. It took Tshering 2 days to get from Everest Base Camp to Lukla to deliver outgoing mail and to pick up any letters for the expedition. The next day he would start back up and reach Base Camp on the 4th day. As you can see, he is an incredibly strong person.
Most of the money he earned was sent to Kharikhola to support his family.
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Up to this point, he had worked with treks and expeditions in small supporting roles but he had never climbed a mountain. He had received no training in mountaineering, had never used crampons and had no experience at altitudes above base camp. For these reasons, I find his next move so puzzling. Although the route is not technically challenging, keep in mind that the first mountain he ever climbed was the highest mountain in the world!
Very few people can say that. He did other trekking jobs and was part of an unsuccessful Everest expedition in reaching 8, meters. That year he married Riku in a Sherpa wedding in Thame but they still live in Kathmandu. The next year they had their first of two daughters. Tshering continued working as a climbing Sherpa with successful summits of Everest and other 8, meter peaks.
I finally met him in when I climbed Cho-Oyu and he was supporting our expedition. But through the next 5 years I kept meeting him one or two times every year during climbing expeditions. Then, tragedy struck. We climbed Everest together once.
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Sherpas are generally kind people but Chhewang treated me like a brother. His story is one I will write some other time but, finding ourselves again on Everest on different expeditions during the spring of , we made plans to climb Ama Dablam with my father on October of that year.
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Sadly, just two weeks before we were scheduled to meet in Kathmandu, Chhewang was swept by an avalanche while climbing Baruntse. He was killed and his body has not been found yet.
Because of this tragic accident, Tshering Dorjee stepped in to join us on the expedition and we summited Ama Dablam together. But most importantly, he was there with me in when I had a paragliding accident in the Rolwaling Valley of Nepal. He was the only one with me when I crashed as I took-off and I was unconscious for about 10 minutes. He thought I was dying and he was very scared. When I came around he helped me walk back to Na village and get our things ready to jump on the helicopter that took us to Katmandu so I could get to a hospital.
As you can see, Tshering was one of the strongest people I knew and one that I trusted with my life. In May of his life took an unexpected and unfortunate turn. They reached the summit on May 23rd and went down to sleep at Camp 3 at 8,m. During the descent to the North Col he began feeling dizzy and continued heading down as, typically, loosing altitude will take care of most altitude sickness problems.
But back at Advanced Base Camp the dizziness became more intense and he was vomiting periodically. A Jeep arrived the next day to evacuate him to Nepal and he had to be carried from his tent. They left early morning and by mid afternoon they had crossed the border into Nepal where a helicopter finally picked him up and he was taken to a hospital in Kathmandu. Concerned with how vague the diagnosis was, his family took him to another hospital where a doctor finally diagnosed him with a stroke.
The strong, tough Sherpa was put in the ICU. He says he felt hopeless and very sad, and I believe he was describing symptoms of depression. After some time, his physiotherapy began. Day after day, with the support of his family, he tried as hard as he could to learn again the movements that had come so natural before.
He was still constantly dizzy but he still tried. It took nearly six months before he could walk without assistance. Just a few steps at a time. Also as therapy, he goes swimming, trying to get back the strength he had lost. I met Tshering again in Kathmandu on November of He looked physically drained but I could see his sprit was unbroken. His progress continued and by the Spring of he was walking again, with just slight traces of his condition. He went on a trek to Everest Base Camp with clients and felt fine but had a small hemorrhage in his eye.
A reminder not to push it too hard. Another eye hemorrhage appeared and he had slight problems with his vision. How can he support his family? What happens to his confidence and self-esteem, and to the genuine joy he feels when he climbs a mountain? I decided to go back to Nepal and climb with him one more time. And not just any place in Nepal, but in the Rolwaling valley where I had my accident three years ago.
We were going to face our demons together by climbing Yalung Ri 5,m. During the next three days we hiked up to Na village at 4,m. The memories of my accident came flooding back but I was ready to move on. It was a very peaceful night inside our tent. Yalung Ri is not technical peak but there is a long, steep glacier near the summit. It was the first time he used crampons since the stroke and he walked slowly but confidently. Roped together, we made our way up zigzagging along the crevasses until we reached the summit.
He described reaching the summit as a moment of total happiness. He told me he felt he had been born again, given a second chance. After shooting a short video and taking some photos we began descending. But I can say that the man I saw at the beginning of the Yalung Ri climb was not the same that came down that day.
The confidence was back. The Sherpa was a climber again. I remember the exact moment I decided to swim across the English Channel. One of the expedition members was Brian Freeman, a former Special Forces soldier from Australia who was climbing to honor fallen soldiers and their families. It was his third attempt on Everest. As part of his long-term mission, Brian planned to swim across the Channel that same year. During the expedition we had long chats about his project and I was fascinated by the swim from England to France. Despite suffering from serious frostbite, Brian travelled to Dover but was unable to swim because of the weather.
He will try again in a few weeks. At its narrowest, the English Channel spans 33 km across the Strait of Dover but because of the tide currents, swimmers end up covering significantly longer distances. Sometimes close to 60 km. Every time I had to train for a triathlon, I really struggled to find the motivation to swim.
I hoped that in the end I would enjoy swimming. Brian shared a lot of information with me and I studied as much as I could to learn everything I needed to succeed. For many reasons, but mainly because of all the preparation and training involved, it was impossible for me to try the swim in and I focused on September of I knew that it was critical to have a good boat captain to guide me across and I decided to work with Andy King and his boat Louise Jane.
That meant four other people would have to swim during that neap tide before I got my chance. A neap tide is only 7 days long and any delay would decrease my chances. I began training in September of Sometimes there are long swims on consecutive days. I began with a long swim of about 1. But just a few weeks into my training I got the news that I had been one of the athletes selected to compete in Red Bull X-Alps But it also meant that I would have to spend most of the time concentrating on running and paragliding, sometimes for weeks at a time, and it would be impossible for me to swim as consistently as I needed.
Add my regular job to the mix, and you can see my schedule has been crazy for the last year. But I love those challenges. Sometimes I spent weeks in paragliding competitions with very limited access to swimming pools, lakes or oceans so I did a lot of strength training on those days. Still, I was swimming on every opportunity I had. Red Bull X-Alps started on July 2nd.
After I was eliminated I immediately switched my full focus to swimming. It came at the right time since I was suffering from a bad case of tibial tendinitis and swimming was like therapy, physically and emotionally. I began swimming in Menton, France, just to the east of Monaco. I would go out every day at sunrise and enjoyed pushing myself as hard as I could on the calm Mediterranean sea. Little by little, my swim sessions became something I looked forward to instead of something I had to put up with.
All the paperwork with the Channel Swimming Association was completed. Also, I was very lucky to have the opportunity to talk to swimmers that had already completed the crossing. They were very welcoming and open to share their experiences with me thanks Paty and Melissa! All that was left to do was swim from England to France. I arrived in Dover on September 9 and was greeted with good and bad news. The good news: I was now 4th in line to swim with Andy King since the swimmer on the 1st slot had dropped out.
The bad news: the weather forecast called for very high winds for most of the week making it impossible for anyone to head out. A couple of days later my family arrived and the wait became easier. On Friday, September 15 the winds finally abated and the channel swimmers got their chance. But on Monday the winds picked up again.
At that time I had been in Dover for 10 days, the neap tides were over and the spring tides had arrived. I had two choices: pack up and go home or swim in stronger currents and give it my best. I decided that going home without trying was not an option. They would be in charge of my feeds every 45 minutes. After a short boat ride out of Dover Harbor we arrived at a beach next to Samphire Hoe. I covered myself in sunscreen and anti-chafing cream and jumped into the water. It was just a meter swim to the beach. I got out of the water and stood on the rocky beach.
Some swimmers wished me good luck and after one last look around I walked back into the sea, dove and started swimming. It was around 11am. The captain is busier, in charge of maintaining the heading and speed, and communicating with the hundreds of commercial and passenger ships that cross the English Channel every day as well as monitoring the weather. My mission was to stay about 2 meters left of the boat, concentrating on my breathing, form and stroke rate.
That was it. The first feed came very quickly. The bottle and stuff sack were tied to a dog leash that was pulled back on the boat once I was done. The feed took less than 30 seconds and I was swimming again. I was again surprised when the second feed came. The sea was choppy with about 15 knot winds opposing the current and I could see the boat rocking back and forth a lot but I felt great in the water.
Just before the third feed the boat slowed down and the captain appeared. He also said the tide slack was still hours away. Being slower than the average swimmer, I was prepared to swim 18 or even 20 hours through the night. I know my mind and my body were ready for that. But the captain said that with the strong currents I would not make it across. With mountaineering, paragliding or ultra-running, I believe I have the experience and information to make most decisions I face. Whether to continue or to turn around is usually my call. But with swimming across the English Channel I had to rely on the captain.
He has the experience and local information. We sailed back to Dover. My attempt to swim across the English Channel in was over. I learned some valuable lessons. First, I thought that the cold water would be a much bigger challenge than the tides and currents. But, unless you are a very fast swimmer, going in the middle of the neap tides is extremely important. Second, being a faster swimmer is more important than being able to go for 15 or 20 hours.
Third, some boat captains are flexible and give better spots for solo swimmers not relays that travel from Australia or America. Relay swimmers can go faster and can tolerate swimming on days with stronger currents and winds. Swimming across the English Channel is an extraordinary physical achievement.
And like any adventure, the outcome is uncertain. But I love big challenges and I love adventures. I have huge mountaineering plans for but I know that in I will head back in Dover and that time I will complete the swim from England to France. Running any marathon, Now imagine running the equivalent of 6 marathons in six consecutive stages for a total of km the longest stage is about 80km long. Then consider that you are going to be running in the middle of the Sahara Desert, making your way along the sand dunes and rocky desert terrain.
But on top of that you have to carry a backpack with all your food and supplies, and the race organizers only provide you with water and a bivouac for the night. That is the MDS. If they have to ask about why I enjoy running, no answer will satisfy them. Training for MDS has been tough. The biggest difference with training for a regular marathon has been adding back-to-back long runs. But we may end up burning between 4,, calories per day.
The limit for the longest stage is usually 34 hours. Every runner has their own motivation when running MDS. My motivation is setting myself a goal and doing everything I can to complete it. To do this, I summited Mount Everest in the spring of , ran the Chicago marathon 6 months ago and later climbing other peaks in the Himalayas.
Bringing to light the conversation about mental health and depression has been my way of supporting the Foundation. With the right support they will recover and get through it. Through their example, I'll give it my best and hopefully get to the finish line of MDS. But climbing a mountain that has never been climbed before is an adventure like no other. Earlier this year, I was able to summit Mount Everest for the sixth time. I stood on the summit with a banner that I had carried with me all the way from Bangalore, India. Without a doubt, it was the most meaningful of my Everest climbs and I still get emotional reading the messages I received, during and after the expedition, from people going through mental health issues.
Sometimes, fate brings remarkable people together to achieve a common goal and the result is just as extraordinary. When she talked about helping people with mental health issues, I saw nothing but a genuine desire to help. I was very proud to be involved with such an amazing group of people. That day, the Foundation launched its Dobara Poocho campaign. Summiting an unclimbed mountain will be a unique personal experience.
Reaching the summit for a higher purpose makes it the perfect adventure. La respuesta es simple pero hace falta hacer un poco de historia. Muchas han sido a lugares verdaderamente remotos. Pero sobre todo aprecio la oportunidad de poder abrir esta ventana a mis experiencias. Y, si sientes que en algo puedo mejorar, los comentarios constructivos siempre son bienvenidos. My personal experience as participant in this amazing race was too short.
On day two I caught a thermal just a few meters off the ground while I was already committed to land and ended up crashing into a barbed wire fence. I was incredibly lucky to have hit a post with my shoes and avoided hitting the spikes with my body. I considered the situation with Alex, my teammate, and we agreed that it was a complex repair, not something we could just tape up and it was a significant safety risk.
I even told Alex I would pack my damaged glider and walk as far as I could, without the possibility of flying, until the race was over. He smartly talked me out of this idea. We decided to call the Race Director and let him know that we were retiring. Our race was over. For us X-Pyr involved months of planning, training and dreaming. My definition of adventure: a journey in which the outcome is uncertain. X-Pyr is definitely an adventure.
Preparing for the race, and the race itself can be a logistical nightmare for participants and assistants. While we have mandatory rest periods from to , they kept going all night looking after us. I would also like to thank my teammate Alex for planning and dreaming being a part of this adventure with me. Paragliding competitions, summiting an unclimbed peak in the Himalayas, marathons, ultra-marathons and multi-stage adventure races in the desert.
When in the middle of January of this year I received the email confirming that our team had been selected to participate in X-Pyr , I first felt thrilled and proud to have been chosen for one of the biggest and most exciting adventure races in the world. But this year would be especially challenging because I had to run a marathon in February, I had to train for and climb Mount Everest again during the spring and I had to get ready for X-Pyr. My teammate Alex Gonzalez was a big help with planning the logistics for X-Pyr while I concentrated on my climbing expedition.
I flew to Nepal on March 28 and went flying in Pokhara. I arrived at Base Camp on April 19 and began the slow process of getting acclimatized to the altitude. I got to the summit on May 12 climbing with Pa Rita Sherpa on a day with perfect weather conditions. It was my 6th summit. Everest was behind me and X-Pyr was where I would focus all my energy and time. I returned to Mexico a few weeks later and one of the first things I did was to go to Valle de Bravo and fly again. What an amazing feeling to be back in the sky after dreaming about it for two months.
I knew there would be a lot of catching up to do with only one and a half months to go before the start of X-Pyr. Thank you for following me on this adventure. This time the forecast that predicted a maximum wind speed of 10 mph was completely accurate. By then Pa Rita Sherpa was already awake. First we got the stoves going to brew coffee and melt ice to have enough water for our climb to the summit.
Because of the lack of oxygen, it takes much longer at that altitude to put on all of our gear and to get ready to leave camp. Just putting on my Millet double boots took about 10 minutes. The gear I was wearing was: two pairs of socks, double boots with heated insoles , two pairs of long underwear bottoms, thick and thin , two pairs of long underwear tops thick and thin , down suit, buff, OR gorilla mask, OR heated gloves, goggles, headlamp, crampons and harness.
In my backpack I had extra gloves, down mittens, two litters of water, ice axe, VHF radio and first aid kit. Finally, in my down suit pockets I put my camera, iPhone and satellite phone. By am on May 12 we were ready to go and I called base camp on the radio. The final push to the summit began under perfect weather conditions. We could see a couple of headlamps on the route that meant Kenton Cool and his group had decided to start early. Urinalysis: A Comprehensive Review. American Family Physician, Acesso em: 25 de mai. KIEL, D.
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