Tuesday, October 30, 2007

10th Mountain Division Leadership

For those of you that are not familiar with the historically impressive 10th Mountain Division, it is worth noting that this group of men have been a source of strength and acheivement from the Division's inception in 1943.

The 10th Mountain's specialty involves fighting effectively in harsh conditions. It is designed for rapid deployment anywhere in the world.

The development of a specialized unit began before the United States entered World War II. In 1940 the War Department began working with the American Alpine Club and the National Ski Patrol Committee of the National Ski Association to develop equipment and training for winter and mountain warfare. The 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment was activated at Fort Lewis, Washington on November 15, 1941, drawing its initial members from men already in the Army who had previous ski and mountaineering experience. Thereafter the National Ski Patrol recruited volunteers for the unit, under a contract with the War Department.

So you can see that these guys were chosen for being tough and resourceful...and the results show in some of the Division's alumni...

Bob Dole Former Senate Majority Leader and Presidential candidate
David R. Brower Founder of the Sierra Club
Bill Bowerman Co founder of Nike
Pete Seibert Founder of Vail Ski Resort
Paul Petzoldt Founder of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and inventor of the carribiner.

A very impressive group of men that were put into a situation where they had no template. Due to the fact that they were doing something that had never been done before, they were required to create their own training exercises and drills. They attempted to simulate extreme environments so as to be prepared for any situation that they would encounter throughout their deployments. This had them field testing equipment in the mountains that was crude at best...and it was through their ingenuity that they not only survived but thrived.

They are a wonderful illustration of resourceful ingenuity and comraderie...not unlike what my climbing partners and I have experienced through our own alpine challenges.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rox to the Series

Our beloved Rockies are headed to the World Series.

Unless you have just returned from a 10 day journey to Falalamabad you know that the Colorado Rockies will face the vaunted Boston Redsox in the World Series.

The Rox story is well told by now...with a 6 week record of 21 out of 22 wins...sweeping both the Divisional Series as well as the League Championship Series.

The striking thing about the Rockies is their everyday demeanor on and off the field. None of these guys are super stars or mercenary free agents playing for the highest paycheck.

How about this stat...there are 4 players on the Red Sox roster that together earn the same salary as the entire 26 man Rockies roster.

They are the true essence of teamwork and effective leadership. Each of them are humble and are in it for the glory of the team instead of individual accolades. It is truly amazing what a team can accomplish when no one cares who gets the pat on the back.

Go Rockies!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Adventure Film School Screening

On Sunday night about 20 of us sat in an obscure Boulder film screening room to view the rough cut films from each of the students that participated in our inaugural Adventure Film School on Kilimanjaro last month.
Once the students arrived in Boulder last week, Mike, Dave and Ryan from Serac Adventure Films assisted with the editing over just 3 intense days. The 'almost finished' products were nothing short of amazing. Serac's account of the project.

The students and their themes for each film.

Thayer is a writer from Outside Magazine that was on assignment for our Kili expedition. Check out the very cool podcast from his self imposed 'castaway' experience on an island in Panama a couple of years ago.

His job in this case was 'to be a student' in the Film School, make a film as well as write an article for Outside regarding his experiences as a student. His film was a wonderfully humorous satyr on making films while on an expedition.

Emeka is from New York City and did a wonderful job with his film drawing out the parallels between the 'mountains' that are climbed daily in Manhattan to an actual mountain climb such as Kilimanjaro. Wonderfully done and very artistic.

Josh is also from New York City. His film was based on the journey that our man Bill Barkeley was taking on his quest to climb Kilimanjaro. Remember that Bill has Usher Syndrome and is profoundly visually and hearing impaired. Josh did an inspiring job portraying the challenges that Bill took on throughout his journey.

Each of the films will be uploaded onto Outside Magazines Online website in the next month.

Also each of the films will be submitted to the '08 film festival circuit.

I will post another update once these amazing films become available for viewing.

Side note...it looks as if the next Adventure Film School will take place in October of 2008 in the majestic setting of Peru. More details to come.

Monday, October 8, 2007

My friend in Iraq

About a year ago I was on a flight home from a speaking event and struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. He was about my age and we chatted for essentially the entire 3 hour flight. He was an interesting fellow that clearly had that intangible characteristic. We spoke of our careers (he was a 'consultant'), families and life experiences. We exchanged contact information and swapped a few emails here and there over a few months.

Then last month I received an email from Jeff and in it he disclosed to me that on that flight he was an active Air Marshall, carrying a weapon and protecting the safety of our flight.

Then I get the real story on this guy...a former member of the Department of Homeland Security, he's caught terrorists inside the United States, trained with members of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, he is a trained sniper, former SWAT team leader and a FBI-trained crisis negotiator. He has a master’s degree in Military Studies and Terrorism and is an expert in suicide terrorism and crime. He served on the Just War Theory Project for the Academic Council of the United Nations System. He is the co-owner of Liberty Protective Solutions, LLC and has served as a security specialist for the U.S.-led “Roadmap to Mideast Peace.” Right now, he is serving as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces (Reserve) in Iraq.

Now...on top of all of that he is a great guy. A real genuine man with great intentions.

No matter how you feel about the war and the administration that took us there (most familiar with me know my disenchanted view), you have to respect a guy like this that devotes his life to protecting our freedoms and liberties.
I'm honored to know him.

He has been blogging about his experiences in Iraq. Please check it out.