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Toastmasters Magazine Article: Vincent Kituku: Overcoming Life's Buffaloes
Meet Idaho's Latest Exports

Dr. Kituku Elected Grand Marshal of Boise State University Home Coming

The Race for the Cure  |  Year II: Racing for More Than Cure
Racing for the Cure While Praying for Sue  |  The Road to Conquering Robie Creek
Dr. Kituku featured in the Idaho Statesman  |  Claiming Idaho's Highest Summit
Leading Amateurs to Success  | 
Robie Creek Vs Everyone (2006)
When Robie Creek Race Calls, You Participate (2006)   |   Doing Robie Creek as a Non-Kenyan Marathoner   |   What makes the Robie Creek Race Less painful

Leading Amateurs to Success
What Leaders Can Learn from Mt. Borah

By Dr. Vincent Muli Kituku

If, as a leader, you have said, "I wish I heard more talented people our production would increase" or "The reason we fail is because we don't have experienced people" think twice.

However, any leader can succeed with talented and/or experienced people. That is swimming down stream, living and non-living fish can do that. In life there are times talent will get the job done. Experience also has proved to be a tool for success over the ages.

Swimming up stream, is what takes an effective leader, the one who works with amateurs and lead them to success year after year. The depth of the challenge the amateurs overcome matters. This is where Bob Sesek, Mt. Borah and I come in, Bob as the ultimate leader who has taken non climbers to the top of the recorded Idaho's highest peak. He has done this repeatedly.

First, allow me to pay special respect for Mt. Borah. While I have participated in marathon events, nothing comes close to the physical and mental toll that mountain took on me. On my way to the top, I realized I had done something contrary to a practice that I developed since my youth. I have always encouraged people never to turn back before achieving their goal. Anyone I met on the way and said, he/she had decided not the go beyond the Chicken-out Ridge, I encouraged their trip back by saying, "You are wise!" Chicken-out Ridge is the real name but it deserves stronger description like "God be With You Ridge" or "The Point of Personal Reflections" or "One Mistake and Climbing is Not for You Ridge."

One website indicates that there are seven people who have lost their lives climbing that mountain in the last two decades and a half.

Mt. Borah summits at 12,668 feet. The distance, from the base to the summit is about 3.5 miles with 5,500 foot ascent. That takes experienced climbers 6-7 hours but sign at the gate say plan for 12 hours round trip. Guides say, "West Ridge which is primarily a non-technical hike and scramble, although a long day is required to safely make the ascent and descent. Be ready for Chicken Ridge, an exciting traverse of the most exposed section of the climb. Participants should be in good physical condition with prior experience with strenuous hikes. Ski poles are great addition to cushion the rattle on the knees during the descent."

I want to put something in record. The "non-technical hike and scramble" description is purely relative. I would advice wannabes to learn rock climbing and get used to heights, and for the Chicken-out Ridge, very exposed heights. I had never climbed a rock, mountain or endured relatively drastic elevation changes. The exposed height put my thinking on the balances.
Bob is an orthodox physical fitness guru. Staying fit is a way of life for him and Rhonda, his wife, another mountain conqueror. Bob's depth of the foods to eat, when, how and why is not the kind of stuff you get from grocery stores magazines. He is real. He is a trainers' trainer.

Bob has taken a man from India and another one from Mexico to the summit and back. As a leader here is a sample of what sets Bob apart:

Tell people the truth. "You will suffer, but you will love it!" That's from an email Bob sent me. People distrust a leader who tells them what he wants them to hear but not what they need to hear. Another email said, "This is a challenging hike and it's possible that everyone that starts does not summit." I saw people who had ran marathons turn back!

Hold people accountable. �Vincent you better make it this year we picked the date for you!� This was another email reminding me of my earlier commitment and his expectation.

Provide the necessary information."As far as equipment goes here's the list of what I think you need." That listed was as exhaustive as they get. Bob explained why each item was necessary and pointed out what was optional. I need every item in that list to survive the 12 hours that hike needed from me. (Note the list is available by request only.)

Teach and demonstrate. Bob loves teaching, he is the only people I know who can speak and climb when everyone else is laboring for strength to take that next step. He explained each and every aspect of the climb then made himself available, not once, to hike a 13 miles course with me in preparation for the big day.

Stick to your principals and word. This is probably what made me to start thinking of Bob as a leader. We had two youngsters, 17 and the other 18 or 19. Bob had promised their parents that he will keep the teens at a "slapping distance." On our way back, the teens reached Chicken-out Ridge way ahead of Bob and I. Radioed wanting to scramble through the Ridge with another veteran climber who was in our group. Bob's response was a, "NO. They will go through that Ridge with me. That was and still is the arrangement."

Stay with your people. This fitness guru could have cleared that mountain in 6-8 hours. It took him the 12 hours I needed to claim victory. He stayed with me even though the weather, daylight and my physical conditions were in favor of my accomplishing this lifetime goal.

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