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
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
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