"We must travel the direction of our fear."
A wave of shock hit me when I should have been nursing my
exhausted body at Mt. Borah's summit. That shock could
have spoiled the deep sense of excitement I needed my
heart to experience after such a memorable mental and
I realized that I was a minority on top of Idaho's highest
peak at 1:45 p.m. of the 19th of August 2006. Please don't
think of skin color, gender, religion or age. A quick
glance and I had completed the survey I needed to make an
undisputable conclusion, of all the people at the peak at
the time I was there I was the only one whose stomach was
easily noticeable. The rest had flattened theirs through
years of exercises and conscious eating.
Some human desires and the timing of those desires are
better left un-described and viewed with a non-judgmental
spirit. How would one explain where the desire to climb
mountains or dive in shark infested waters comes from? Or
why someone in their mid-late forties gets the desire to
challenge natural features that few dare to conquer?
I just had to climb Mt. Borah, get to the top of Idaho.
The knowledge that seven people have died trying to reach
Idaho's highest summit, the notes on the difficult part of
the climbing or Chicken-out Ridge didn't diminish or deter
To climb to the top of Mt. Borah, the weight of your
backpack matters, so is you body's ability to adjust to
quick elevation changes-a distance of about 3.5 miles with
a 5,500 foot climb. The Chicken-out Ridge is the portion
to prepare for. You need to know how to climb rocks,
scramble using both hands and feet--maintaining a 3-point
contact. You can't be scared of exposure of free vertical
drop-offs and be prepared to maneuver your ascend and
descend through small loose rocks. There are some large
boulders to cross, too.
Then you need mental toughness to finish the unbelievable
900 feet of very loose rocks and challenging solid
One thing to know is, even if you are scared of vertical
exposure, reaching the Chicken-out Ridge point provides
you with one the greatest views of nature and a tremendous
sense of accomplishment.
After my initial acceptance of reality, the only fat
person at the summit of Mt. Borah, I posed for a photo
with my wife's best meal in my hand while unable to hide
my obvious display of achievement, by the way I positioned
my smile next to the Mt. Borah flag at the summit.
It was during the descent that thoughts of how I had
gotten myself to that peak with my extra body weight
flooded my mind. It was a combination of several factors
including the desire to trim some of the noticeable
The key factor was conscious the decision not to be
discouraged. A great friend had tried but turned back
after about two hours last year. He talked of the
challenges with animated gestures that could have knocked
out any ounce of hope from me. At the beginning point of
the Chicken-out Ridge, I witnessed many people turning
back. But I relied on an incident that happened in 1979.
Two of the top students from my community failed in the
University Entrance Exam. I had to do a similar exam in
1980. One of the students had never gotten any grade lower
than an A. The other had been selected by his high school
to participate in an international student exchange
program because of his outstanding academic abilities.
That is when I learned never to judge your own capability
against the performance of others.
Just do your best. Thinking you can is essential for the
courage you need to accomplish your goal and it is a great
foundation for true progress. Never let fear keep you from
where want to be.