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7 Summits – Aconcagua Prep 2: Begin and Prepare

Happy Monday to you,

All of my climbs to-date has been challenging in very different ways and with these challenges many fears have had to be faced and overcome. In overcoming these fears, the fears themselves must be identified and conquered. In my case, believe it or not, my greatest fear was heights!

In preparation I researched fear and panic. The fine lines between the two, which can blur a decision and lead to disaster or death on a big mountain. I learned how to remain calm and in a conscious state of mind to make the right decision or the very next step to safety. In other words, staying in absolute connection with yourself and your being and feeling the situation, dealing and coping with it. In addressing my own fear; heights, I decided to spend a day ‘zip-lining’ in Tibradden. A day I vividly remember for the adrenalin, the stress, the anxiety, the cold sweats, the nerves, the actual 100% determination to succeed and get myself to the next ‘’safe’’ base and push on further. This was all despite my absolute fear of heights and being clipped in safely, which made for no consolation!

At the end of day I felt so fulfilled, so proud of myself for having faced up to my biggest fear. The exact same feeling which Iain Lee (I’m a Celebrity 2017) felt and exhibited on finishing the ‘’Space Your Fears’’ challenge. Accomplishing and completing zip-lining helped me overcome my fear of ‘’heights’’, while realising that this fear would need to be further tested/trained in order to build my climbing self-belief. I decided that the next stage for me was to try abseiling and undertake rope training. I knew that these challenges would also prepare me for future climbs.

Mount Everest was of course one of those climbs and the demands mentally and physically required were beyond anything I had ever previously experienced and bar research and the help from close climber friends I may not have been able to visualise what was to be encountered. Thus I needed to prepare for mental and physical extremities at levels I had not previously experienced.

Big mountains expose climbers to unnerving foot-holds, ledges which overhang and descend beneath you. One mistake is not tolerated. Below is the 2nd Step on Mount Everest with a mere 28,000 feet below me! … This is where my mental and physical preparation helped me to emotionally deal with it and complete this stage to the summit. And this had to be done ‘again’, on descent!

I knew there was so much more to encounter to the summit but I remained calm, stayed in the moment and enjoyed the experience and return to safety made it all so much worthwhile. 

Mount Everest – 2nd step at 28,000 feet.

Finally, while preparing for anything I always try and first visualise the goal and then work backwards to what is required and complete in small steps to the ultimate success, in this case it was summiting Mount Everest.

We all have our aims, ambitions and determinations to succeed and I truly believe preparation, hard work, belief in yourself and confidence will enabled you to succeed.

I’ll leave you with two of my favourites sayings … 

Take Care and Keep Your Dreams Alive!
Derek