Monday, December 20, 2010

A Recent Event Testimonial...

A wonderful reference sent from a former client to a potential client...

I highly recommend Jeff Evans as a speaker for your National Sales Meeting.

Jeff spoke at Megadyne Medical's National Sales Meeting in March of 2009 at the Deer Valley Resort in Park City. He not only has an inspiring and compelling personal story to tell - taking the first blind man to the top of Mount Everest - but does so in an engaging and enlightening manner using analogies from his experience and the climbing teams ultimate success to the teamwork, leadership and execution required to be successful in the corporate world. He was a huge hit with our sales team and was the top rated event over the course of the meeting.

Even today, after two years, we often refer to his presentation and/or Everest observations as we discuss our own goals, objectives and targets. The Megadyne management team and sales force came away from the presentation with a greater understanding of the commitment required to achieve significant goals, the vision and leadership required to stay focused on the summit, and the planning, execution and teamwork necessary to move up the mountain!

Moreover, we found a partner and friend in Jeff. He was extremely easy to work with and very interested in learning about Megadyne and our needs. He demonstrated a geniune desire to understand our electrosurgical product lines, markets and customers. He has a medical background and could easily "talk the talk" with our sales team - easily attaining a level of credibility that enhanced his presentation.

Jeff was able to easily weave our desired message and focus into his presentation. In fact, we based the theme of our National Sales Meeting - "Reaching New Summits" - around his message and ensured that everyone had a copy of his book to take home after the presentation as a reminder. Needless to say, Jeff made an extremely positive impact on our overall message to the sales force and helped set the tone for the years sales objectives.

Based on your stated goals, I am positive that Jeff will have the same impact for you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reflection...

Friday, December 10
As I'm sitting here in my hotel room waiting to head to the airport and begin the long journey home, I think fondly on this most recent adventure and my 21 new friends. Over the course of nearly 2 weeks, we walked, shared meals and suffered together...creating a bond that is unique in its depth. It's clear to me after years of adventuring that a persons true heart is exposed when put through challenging events. I watched as each of my new friends dug down deeper than they ever imagined possible to reach this summit. And it's in this struggle that each person found that fundamental place that exists within each of us...that hides from most folks and takes "a little bit of pain" to expose it.
It was an honor to walk with each of these guys and share in such discovery.
A deep and profound thank you to JC Huezinga for putting this group together and being the catalyst for all the goodness.
Till next time...
Jeff and the crew

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Summit!

6am' Dec 8
What a day!
The team departed camp yesterday around 12:30am and headed up for what would be the challenge of a lifetime.
Many would say it was the hardest physical/emotional day of their lives.
20 of 21 made the summit. Greg made it to Stella Point (just an hour short of the summit...an extraordinary accomplishment on its on).
We are all just waking from a solid night of sleep and rest. Today we will make the final 3 to 4 hour hike back down into the jungle. Showers and restaurant food tonight!
More to come.
Thanks for all of your support.
Jeff and the crew

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Into Karanga Camp

8:30PM, December 5th
We all pulled into the 13,700ft Karanga camp this afternoon in misty clouds and warm temps.
Except for the few headaches and upset bellies, everyone is doing quite well. We will rest tonight to get ready for our move tomorrow up to high camp at around 16,000ft. Our plan is to head for the summit tomorrow night around midnight, with hopes of summiting around 8am the next morning.
Prayers and good thoughts are very much appreciated.
Thanks
Jeff and the crew

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Barranco Camp...all is well

Sunday, December 5
Yesterday we made the move from the Shira Plateau over to the Barranco Valley. It's a fairly long day (about 7 hours) so I think everyone was pretty happy to see camp after some heavy up and down hiking.
Today we push up over "Breakfast Wall", about 1200ft of rocky scrambling and pull into Karanga Camp at about 13,700ft.
The few headaches that folks had yesterday and last night seem to have abated this morning with a little medical intervention.
All is well and everyone is fired up. More to come.
Jeff and the crew

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Into Shira Camp

Since the last dispatch we have passed through Camp 1 and today moved up to Camp 2 (Shira Camp). Perched at 12,400 ft, everyone seems to feel pretty good and having a great time. The weather has been somewhat fickle, but never discouraging. An occasional spit of rain and cloud cover followed by intense, radiating sun.
Tomorrow we will cruise up the Shira plateau, up and over Lava Tower and down into Barranco Camp. It will be another day full of panoramic vistas and beautiful terrain.
Till then...
Jeff and the crew

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Last Meal and Shower

Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we... hike.
We all shared a nice meal and some fellowship last night and this morning breaks with excitement as everyone is ready to start the journey upward.
The weather seems to be a bit rainy here in town, which is really quite irrelevant to what's going on at the base of the mountain over an hour away. We cross fingers that our first day is not a wet one as its much more enjoyable to cruise through the jungle in drier conditions.
There are 22 of us on this journey, each person climbing this mountain for their own personal reasons. We will push each other towards the top, sharing in the friendship that comes with such an adventure.
Dispatches from here on out will be spotty. I will do my best. Everyone sends their love to the folks at home.
Onward and upward.
Jeff

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Arrival Complete

Wednesday, December 1
So we are all now accounted for in Tanzania. All the folks, all the bags. This bodes well for a group of 22, as typically with a group this size, something or someone goes missing. Our debriefing meeting took place this morning where I reviewed with the group the climb details and what to expect from the next week. Everyone is clearly excited and perhaps a bit nervous for the journey that lies ahead. More to come...

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Exclusive Interview with Expedition Leader for Soldiers to the Summit

This is an online interview I did with Warriors SOS on 11/2/10.

Warrior SOS is a non-profit organization dedicated to raise public awareness and help families and individuals who have experienced the burdens of physical, emotional and psychological trauma associated with military, law enforcement and security operations.










Military veteran amputee, "Jukes"










Lobuche


Jeff Evans, the founder of MountainVision Inc., and author of Mountain Vision: Lessons Beyond the Summit—a must read for every warrior. He is perhaps most well known for guiding the first blind climber, Erik Weihenmayer, to the summit of Mt Everest in 2001. Jeff most recently served as the Expedition Leader for the monumental Soldiers To The Summit Himalayan Expedition in Nepal. Along with his team, Jeff succeeded in planning and executing an expedition that would put seven injured US soldiers on the summit of a 20,100 ft Himalayan peak. A major ground breaking documentary film will follow in the Spring of 2011. (A full bio on Jeff Evans follows the interview below.)

http://www.soldierstothesummit.org/
http://www.mountain-vision.com/


Warrior SOS: How did you get connected with this project and what was your motivating factor for pursuing it?

Evans:
For years now, I have worked with an organization called World TEAM Sports, which works in bringing together 'able bodied' and 'disabled' for sporting efforts around the world. Back in 2009, I was collaborating with the Executive Director, Jeff Messner on a potential project for 2010 where we would bring together wounded soldiers for a trekking or climbing project in some far away land. In a strange twist of fate, I learned of a family relative that was killed in combat while fighting in Afghanastan over this same period. This jumped us in to motion quickly and commited us to creating and executing a project that would be set in Nepal and involve climbing a peak. Also at this time I introduced the idea to my long time climbing partner Erik Weihenmayer...the blind climber that I have guided on mountains around the world, including Everest in 2001. Erik, in his typical fashion suggested we "go big" and climb a peak over 20,000 ft...and so it began.

As 2011 is the 10 year anniversary of our Everest summit, we saw this as an opportunity to be a part of a project that would be based on something bigger than "our Everest team". Next year will also be the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 and the beginning of full scale international conflict which would effect so many of our men and women in uniform. We knew that the full length documentary would be released in 2011...so the timing for a project of this nature was perfect. So, it was a very auspicious meeting of several events and personalities that planted the seed for this project.

Also of note...each of our "Everest Team" has a deep and profound respect for the drive and sacrifice of military men and women. Each of us, along with every other citizen of this wonderful country respects the fact that we are provided the opportunity to make a living at climbing mountains as a result of our freedom and the bounty that is provided to us living in the US. These opportunities are in part available to us as a result of the genuine sacrifice made my service men and women. And we aren't very good at many things...but we are good at getting folks up and down mountains. We are indebted and wanted to provide a medium for healing if at all possible.


Warrior SOS: Can you give us an idea of some of the veterans -- their motivations as well as their disabilities?

Evans: We had quite a mixed bag of men and women with a wide range of injuries from TBI to PTS (D). Also one blind soldier (from an IED) and 3 below the knee amputees. Regarding their motivations...several of them would probably tell you this was simply an opportunity to go have an adventure and climb a mountain in Nepal whereas there are a few that perceived this trip as an instrument of healing. PTS and TBI are very nebulous injuries...that remain difficult to treat. A journey into the Himalaya is a wonderful medium to allow one to look inside and be somewhat reflective about previous events and hopeful future endeavors. I feel confident that each soldiers pushed themselves physically and emotionally well beyond what they thought capable.


Warrior SOS: You have a unique perspective on disability, whether physical or emotional, would you care to share your thoughts about people with disabilities? Do you think all of us have disabilities?

Evans: I don't see it as much that we all have disabilities as much as those with physical and psychological injuries are simply more challenged. I have been guiding Erik for close to 20 years now and I would be hard pressed to call his blindness a disability. I have been a part of him accomplishing things that 99% of the worlds "able bodied" population would crump on. He accepts his "disability" as an adversity advantage. I have seen this happen with countless individuals over the years of working in the physically challenged community. Folks accept their injury and use it as fuel to be better than they ever could have imagined prior to the event. One of the amputees on the Nepal trip told me, "loosing my leg was the best thing that ever happened to me, because now I get to come do things like this.". It's a matter of perception...how do each of us use the tools and equipment we have to be the best we can be...to optimize our effort, disability or not.


Warrior SOS: It takes an enormous amount of will power, personal drive and motivation to accomplish things that others say are literally impossible. Yet you've done the "impossible;" you've accomplished things that others could never even dream of achieving. How do you do it, and what advice would you offer to others, particularly those wounded warriors, who want to give up?

Evans: More of what I mention above. I have used two tools to get things done in my life...
#1) surrounding myself with a solid team that are not self absorbed and have a team first attitude (and are very skilled at what they do). This goes for my climbing team as well the network of professionals that I work with. But most importantly my wife. She is my most skilled and important team member. Always in it for the team.

#2)Believing that any project worth doing is at least worth an attempt. Too many folks sit around and conceptualize objectives until they are blue in the face. The true alchemists are the ones who then get up and execute....in spite of the fear of falling. So I have tried to create a situation in my life where I'm not afraid to execute...where I let myself down if I don't at least try. Then it becomes amazing how much can get done with that attitude.

Warrior SOS: Can you share an instance or two on this last ascent where you motivated others to carry on and they achieved their goal?

Evans: On summit night on Lobuche (20,100ft) in Nepal on this most recent trip, I was personally guiding one of the soldiers, Steve Baskis. My great friend an climbing partner Brad Bull was in front of Steve and I was behind...tag teaming the guide commands for hours up steep rock in the dark and cold. Steve was clearly beat up early on...but Brad and I pushed him in every way possible...physically and psychologically. We heard Steve utter things like, "I can't do this. I didn't train hard enough. I want to go home. This is too hard." He was hurtin for certain.

We started to joke after 5 hours of this that Steve had heard all of our tricks and motivational cliches...that he needed some new material. But we got in Steve's head and pushed him as hard as we could. I think one of the truly motivating lines was, after running out of nice things to say to Steve to motivate him, I said "Steve, this is not about you. Quit being selfish. This is about all of your recently injured comrades...and those that are yet to be injured. You are doing this for them. Now knuckle down and get it done". Steve had no response for this and he got after it. Summited with us hours later in great style. I am so proud of him.


Warrior SOS: There are so many injured men and women who feel they have nothing left to carry on. They feel abandoned, forlorn and hopeless. What advice would you give them?

Evans: One of the aspirations of this trip was to provide a tool for injured military to hear of this story and see the upcoming film to see how their colleagues have accepted their injuries and ventured forth. It's a matter of seeking out challenging projects to keep busy and satisfied. A complacent life is a dangerous one. The film trailer can be viewed here: http://www.vimeo.com/16394684


Warrior SOS: What is the secret to overcoming all odds?

Evans: I don't have any secret. It's a matter of establishing compelling projects and objectives...putting a fence up in your yard, building your kid a treehouse or reaching a sales quota. Just something that's not easy and satisfying. Then surrounding yourself with people that believe in you and support your mission. Then executing. And doing in a way that inspires the people around you.

Warrior SOS: Lastly, how has working with these military veterans helped you? Is it true in your experience that selfless service and sacrificing for others makes life sweeter and helps us heal from our own struggles or our own personal wounds or disabilities?

Evans: I am still processing the things I have learned from this trip. Initially I thought it would be a trip about physical injuries but quickly learned that it would be more about the emotional challenges that would dominate the trip. Each of them showed me, in a very profound way, the genuine nature of sacrifice. We go away and risk our lives on mountains for selfish reasons. These soldiers have gone away and risked their lives for selfless reasons...for country and honor.


Warrior SOS: Jeff Evans, thank you so very much for this inspiring interview. You're an inspiration to so many people, among them warriors needing a boost. In fact, your book should be mandatory reading for every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine. We're inspired by the fact that you recently helped out so many wounded veterans on your recent adventure.

Evans: Thanks. It was an honor to be the expedition leader for this trip. I am the one who benefited the most for sure.'


Jeff Evans is an inspiring, dynamic public speaker. Contact him today to come speak and motivate your group with his incredible insight and stories on leadership, courage and motivation in the face of death and danger.


For more information, see:




Bio: Jeff Evans, founder of MountainVision Inc., grew up scampering around the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina but soon found that the higher mountains of Colorado would be the ideal setting to challenge himself as a mountain guide. At the age of 19, Jeff packed up his truck and relocated to the Colorado Front Range – beginning his love affair with the Rocky Mountains.Since that time, Jeff has spent years exploring and working in the mountains cultivating the necessary skills to become a world-class mountain guide and member of the prestigious Explorers Club. Jeff spent five summers on Alaska's Mt. McKinley both as a guide and as a Search and Rescue Ranger for the National Park Service. Jeff attributes these years as critical development in his abilities to handle challenging situations at extreme altitudes.

But the turning point in Jeff's guiding abilities came in the early 1990s when he embraced the responsibilities to guide a then unknown and blind climber, Erik Weihenmayer. Together, they problem solved methods of adventure, travel, and communication to tackle the most challenging climbing and mountaineering endeavors ever attempted by a disabled athlete. Some of their more notable ascents include Mt McKinley, El Capitan, Leaning Tower, Aconcagua, culminating with a successful summit of Mt Everest in 2001 that gained much international attention as the first successful blind summit of the highest mountain in the world.

Somewhere squeezed between his years of mountain guiding, Jeff found time to finish his training as an Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant. He has focused his medical training even more with an emphasis on travel and altitude medicine, stressing safety and health on every one of his MountainVision trips.

Jeff most recently served as the Expedition Leader for the monumental Soldiers To The Summit Himalayan Expedition in Nepal. Along with his team, Jeff succeeded in planning and executing an expedition that would put seven injured US soldiers on the summit of a 20,100 ft Himalayan peak. A major ground breaking documentary film will follow in the Spring of 2011.

However, Jeff’s main passion is bringing the lessons he has learned from his experience as a world class mountain guide to the presentations and training he provides to companies and organizations worldwide. MountainVision Presentations brings a dynamic message that resonates with corporate and civic groups throughout a wide spectrum of industries.

Jeff founded MountainVision Expeditions (MVX) to provide adventurous persons the opportunity to challenge themselves on some of the most well known global treks and expeditions around the world. Jeff's objective on every trip is to inspire his new friends to accept the challenges of the natural world, discover the wonder of new cultures and find new levels of personal growth.

Jeff is the published author of MountainVision: Lessons Beyond the Summit and has appeared as one of the main characters in two different award winning documentaries, Farther Than the Eye Can See and Blindsight.

Jeff is a graduate of the University of Colorado-Boulder (Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies) and Drexel Medical School in Pennsylvania. He also attended the University of Guadalajara in Mexico where he spent a term studying Latin American Culture and Spanish. He resides in Boulder, CO with his wife Merry Beth and son Jace.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Lost Friend

The euphoria of our successful Soldiers To The Summit expedition has been dampened by the tragic news of the loss of our friend, Chhewang Nima Sherpa. Only seven days after he stood with us on the summit of Lobuche, Chhewang was fixing ropes near the summit of Baruntse, which is one valley to the east. He was at about ...23,000 feet when a corniced ridge collapsed, sweeping him away. An immediate rescue was launched but it eventually had to be called off due the danger to rescuers.

Chhewang had climbed Everest 19 times, and countless other peaks, making him one of the most experienced mountaineers in the world. He was also an instructor at the Khumbu Climbing Center, which was established by the Alex Lowe Foundation to help make climbing safer for all the Sherpas.


A resident of the village of Thame, Chhewang was a proud husband and father of beautiful daughters. He was widely known in the climbing community for his big smile, boundless energy, and humility. It is a sad time in the Khumbu region and for all of us whom he touched.
Namaste Chhewang!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Soldiers To The Summit Dispatches


Follow Jeff and the Soldiers To The Summit Expedition while on this monumental Himalayan Adventure.

A new feature will allow viewers to follow the climbing route via Google Earth. Jeff will be carrying a device throughout the trip that will track the team's position and allow folks to share in the experience like never before. Once on the map, click on the "Fly In" link for a special 3D treat.
Live Dispatches begin October 2-20, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Adventure Leadership Training

is underway!
All 130 guys arrived into Moab this morning and we are full on into it.
We split the crew into pods of 30 for whitewater paddling, rock climbing, rappeling, canyoneering and skydiving.
Jeff will be facilitating leadership training each of the next 3 nights.
These guys are fired up!

Rock climbing

A few of the 130....pulling down on the rock

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Canyoneering

Getting ready to rappel into the canyon

Group rock climbing

And there off...
All 130 participants arrived in Moab this morning....ready to go for it.
We have the groups split into pods of 30...climbing, whitewater rafting, rappeling, skydiving and canyoneering. Busy day. And we haven't even started the leadership training. More to come

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Kili Blog Report from Buffalo's Own...Ed Kilgore

This is a well written blog from a client on my most recent Kili Grand Expedition...
Written by Ed Kilgore...Buffalo Channel 2 Sports Caster Extraordinaire

It only took 30 hours to get back home to Orchard Park from Arusha, Tanzania Africa, so forgive me if I repeat myself some on this quick recap of our amazing African adventure!

Eleven of the 14 overall climbers were people recruited by yours truly to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro - 9 from the Buffalo area and former Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers Larry Parman and Steve Anthony - along with Lona Parten and Claire Nuckles, who knew our guide Jeff Evans. We all went through a final training climb in Colorado with Jeff in June, so everybody knew everybody, and as a group, we were both confident and ready when we arrived in Arusha, Tanzania Africa to begin our adventure August 15th.

The 9 Buffalo area climbers joined me to help raise some cash for Kids Escaping Drugs, and the rest of the group quickly caught our spirit and helped push us. It turns out, we needed the "push" because climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340') would turn out to be a much tougher task than I had anticipated.

Day one couldn't have started worse, when at breakfast, our guide Jeff informed us he was running a temperature of 102 degrees and wasn't sure if he'd be able to join us after a brief visit to the local hospital. But Jeff, who once led a blind climber to the summit of Mt. Everest, fought through it and wound up leading us every step of the way for the entire 7 days.

The first day began with an hour bus ride from Arusha to the Machame Gate, where we began our trek towards the majestic mountain with a gentle track through the jungle for about an hour when the trail began getting much steeper. We covered nearly 7 miles in about 8 hours, where we reached Machame Camp late in the afternoon. My first mistake was to pack all of our batteries and other equipment for a Ch2 special we were shooting into my own back pack, and eventually a porter noticed me struggling a bit and simply took it off my hands. The guys are amazing like that. We are now at a bit over 9,000 feet, and everybody is in good spirits.

Day 2 was another full day of about 5 miles, with much of it following the path of a steep rocky ridge before reaching Shira Hut, and it took us about 7 hours to reach the Shira Camp. The setting for our camp was spectacular, as already we're over 10,000 feet and looking down at the clouds below us with a terrific view of Mt. Kilimanjaro in front of us. My own spirits were much better than they were after day one, when I was seriously questioning if I'd bitten off more than I'd be able to chew.

Day 3 is when things began to go wrong, as we began about a 5-hour climb towards Barranco Camp. On the way, we reached the famous Lava Tower, which is just over 15,000 feet - an altitude not one of us had ever reached before - and 3 members of our team scrambled up the Lava Tower's treacherous rock walls for the fun of it, since Jeff told us that 200' climb would be optional. One of the 3 was Jerry Schaffer, a neighbor and good friend, and I sat next to his 16 year old son Austin while we waited for them to finish before we continued on.

Austin was quiet, but no big deal I thought, because he was usually quiet as we trained at Chestnut Ridge Park and other places the past several months.

By the time we'd reached Barranco Camp, had dinner and hit our tents for some shuteye, some unmistakable sounds of somebody getting sick woke me with a start.

It was Austin, who is probably in the best shape of anybody in our group, but he was suffering from a double whammy of altitude related symptoms, both cerebral and pulmonary, and Jeff - a physician's assistant who specializes in altitude diseases - gave Austin an IV and decided Austin needed to get back down the mountain to a lower altitude. His father Jerry handled it very well, giving up his own dream to summit to help Austin get back down the mountain with the help of a guide.

I'm happy to report Austin is doing fine, as getting to the lower altitude made him feel instantly better.

Still, we were all a bit sombre as we looked at the famous "Great Barranco Wall" - or "Breakfast Wall" as some call it, which would begin the days' climb. Jerry was one of the livelier people in the group, and everybody liked Austin, and now the dream they'd had with us for the past year was over. And then there's the wall - still there. It's a very steep, rocky wall that requires great concentration and effort, and frankly it was probably the most dangerous part of the entire climb.

And wouldn't you know it, with virtually no warning, I was hit with a "problem" that meant finding the nearest big rock, and quickly! Our guide Paul actually pointed at the trail, not understanding how I could have a problem when we'd just started! About halfway up the wall, the "problem" hit again, and now Jeff had me take some Cipro, and by the afternoon, I was fine again. In fact, Jeff thinks it was something I ate, and not the altitude, and I'd agree, since I didn't have a headache or stomach ache the entire trip. Training, although it sure helps your legs, etc., doesn't really help you cope with thinning air. It has a different effect on everybody.

Typical of the humor on our trip - and you'd better have a sense of humor about bodily functions and everything else with no showers or baths for 8 days - Jeff Evans did a fantastic impersonation of this tv sportscaster from Buffalo who suddenly stops in the middle of the sports cast because he "has to go"! Here we are, about halfway up this steep wall, and we're all - and that means me too - laughing so hard we're crying.

For the next couple days its more of the same as we continue to move around the mountain while slowly gaining altitude, which puts us in position for "summit night". Jeff's experience comes into play here, as he pays a bit extra to have us camp at little-used Kosovo Camp, which is several hundred feet higher than than Barafu camp, where most everybody else awaits their summit climb. They'll be starting at at just over 15,000 feet, while we'll be starting at about 16,000 feet. Every little bit helps.

A quick mention here of camp life. I'd never imagined how energy sapping packing and unpacking each day would be, as the porters carry your big bag which waits by your tent when you arrive. Out comes your sleeping bag, and sleeping pad, and air mattress - which has to be blown up each night but which is also well worth it - and then we gather in a big tent for dinner and to replenish our water supplies for the next day. Did I mention yet there are no showers? For bathrooms - I knew you were thinking that - we had two port-a-potties covered by tents. The guys carrying the port-a-potties, I later learned, are the highest paid porters on the trip!

One more bathroom item worth mentioning if you want the full story here; we all - even the women I believe - took our own special empty bottle to bed with us each night, so that when nature called at 3a.m. or so, you didn't have to get out of your nice, cozy sleeping bag in the dark and cold. Trust me, having that bottle was one of the best tips I'd received before making the trip!

We're now at 16,000 feet at Kosovo Camp and ready to summit! We go in two groups, and I quickly volunteer to go in group one, which would be the slower group. We're awake at midnight and hitting the steep trail at 1 a.m., and this is where the mind games really begin.

It's pitch black, and all you can see is the legs of the person in front of you, illuminated by your own head lamp. As you continue to climb, you notice many lights below you, and many more up ahead of you. It is down right eery. It's now getting colder, and harder to breath as the air gets thinner and thinner. We move slowly - "pole-pole" as they say in Swahili - but you are breathing deeply and heavily, almost as if you're running up hill. And that's for SIX hours! At one point about 3 hours in, I'm estimating, I fall on a steep rock right on my back and bend my trekking pole. Very scary, but I'm good.

We continue upward and upward, and I eventually lose all sense of time and even where I am. I'm thinking of anything positive to keep going - my wife Deb and daughter Shannon - but the effort is nearly unbearable. Never once the thought of quitting, but many times the thought of how much longer before I simply collapse? When I literally think I can't go much longer, I suddenly hear some shouting and notice I'm now on flatter ground. What's this??

This, it turns out, is Stella Point, at just over 19,000 feet and the edge of the summit. I see the crater below (Mt. Kilimanjaro was once an active volcano) and now the sun is just popping over the clouds below. It's also suddenly very windy - gusts of 20-30 mph - and bitterly cold. But that isn't why tears are suddenly running down my cheeks, because now I know we're almost there. Unbelievable, really.

It takes another hour, but now we're really pumped because we know Uhuru Point - THE highest point at 19,340 - is within reach. It takes another hour, as we get a great look at the great glaciers that still cling to the top of the mountain, and there's the famous little sign we've been dreaming to reach.

I call my wife Deb on Jeff's satellite phone, and again get emotional, but it's an indescribable feeling after trekking uphill for 6 days and over 30 miles to get here. It's now 12 degrees, but the sun is shining and there are smiles and hugs everywhere. Everybody in our group makes it! Charlene McGuire, who was quite sick at the start and actually wanted to turn back, decided she'd gut it out and she did. David Utech, Brian Kruszka - a KED graduate and great example of how a life can be totally turned around - Patrick Bauer, our photog Brody Wheeler, and Paul Barner, an Iraq Marine vet, make it! So do my Mizzou frat brothers Larry Parman and Steve Anthony, and Lona Parten and Clair Nuckles from Arkansas. We all think of Jerry and Austin Schafer, who had to turn back, and wish they were here too.

After taking lots of pictures and celebrating, we now have to start back down. That isn't easy either, but its' faster. Three hours gets us back to our camp, where we rest and then trudge another 5 hours lower, making it almost 14 hours of hiking in one day! Eight hours the next day - my buddy Larry slips in the jungle and dislocates his shoulder, which Jeff has to relocate - and we have a big celebration where the big bus will take us back to Arusha.

We tip our guides well, and my almost personal guide - Nicky - says goodbye again, not looking for anything more except to wish me a safe trip back. This smiling man helped me pack almost every day, and was always right there to help with water or whatever. I suddenly take off my running watch and give it to him, and he actually has tears in his eyes!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Video commentary from one of our soldiers...

This is a video commentary from Ashley Crandall, one of our soldiers from the upcoming Soldiers To The Summit Expedition that I am leading this Fall. She provides a description of our most recent training climb in Colorado this past July....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Daily Camera article

On May 13, 2008, Steve Baskis was leading a convoy through northern Baghdad while on a mission with the Army's 4th Infantry Division when the heavily armored truck he was driving hit a sophisticated roadside bomb that sent molten shrapnel through the vehicle's passenger-side door.

Baskis' good friend Staff Sgt. Victor Cota, riding in the passenger seat, was killed instantly. Baskis was hit in his right temple and all four limbs, leaving him with third-degree burns, a fractured skull and a severed artery in his left arm, among other injuries.


When he awoke from the attack a week later at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, doctors informed him that he was blind and likely would be for life.


"It was bad day," said Baskis, of Glen Ellyn, Ill.


More than two years, numerous surgeries and countless hours of physical and blindness rehabilitation later, Baskis is preparing for the next great challenge of his life -- scaling Nepal's 20,075-foot Lobuche Peak with help from Colorado climbers.


The 24-year-old, who medically retired from the military in June, is one of 11 disabled American veterans who will participate in the difficult climb beginning Oct. 1. The trek, organized and sponsored in part by Castle Rock-based nonprofit World T.E.A.M. Sports, is being called "Soldiers to the Summit."


"Just being in the heart of the Himalayas, 10 miles from Everest -- I may not be able to see the beautiful surroundings, but just to stand in that part of the world with comrades should be an awesome experience," Baskis said.


Joining Baskis and his fellow veterans in Nepal will be an experienced 11-man climbing team including Golden's Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind person ever to summit Mount Everest, and Boulder's Jeff Evans, a highly experienced mountain guide who accompanied Weihenmayer on his ascent. Soldiers to the Summit will mark the 10th anniversary of the duo's Everest climb.
"We want to bring attention to these people and their journey," Evans said of combining Soldiers to the Summit with the 10th anniversary of the historic climb.


"Whether you buy into (the Iraq and Afghan) conflicts or not, these guys are doing their jobs so we can walk around and be free."


Evans, a certified emergency medicine physician assistant specializing in travel and altitude medicine, is familiar with the challenges of leading disabled people on difficult, technical climbing expeditions, as he will be doing with the veterans up Lobuche.


"It's a solid peak," Evans said. "A lot of them have physical and emotional challenges. It's going to be tough."


To prepare for their October journey, Evans gathered his team and the 11 veterans at the Bent Gate Mountaineering store in Golden on Thursday morning. The store has provided the Soldiers to the Summit team with a home base: They held a conference call with former President George W. Bush there Wednesday night and gathered gear for ice climbing training at St. Mary's Glacier at the store Thursday.


"I believe that experiences like this can help you on the road to whatever you want to do in your life," Weihenmayer said of the upcoming expedition. "We thought this would be a cool way we could give back to our nation's heroes. Maybe it can change their lives like (the Everest climb) did ours."


Of the 11 disabled veterans headed to Nepal, nine have never used an ice ax or crampons before. The eight men and three women in the group have served in the Army, Air Force and Marines and have disabilities that include amputated legs and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Most injuries were from combat, but some veterans were injured after being discharged from the military. The mountaineering veterans range in age from 24 to 44.


Jeff Messner, president of World T.E.A.M. Sports, will be joining the expedition on Lobuche. His organization has been pairing able-bodied and disabled people in physical challenges since 1993. He said the veterans' disabilities will not be the biggest obstacle faced by the group.
"The biggest hurdle will be making sure we come together as a team, but it will also be our biggest accomplishment," Messner said.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stove for the Developing World’s Health

I have a new pet, social project that I feel will be a great benefit for some of the rural areas which I visit every year. It has to do with the ineffecient cooking systems that a typical home uses in places such as Nepal, Bhutan, Peru and Tanzania. The solution is the introduction and distribution of a very efficient wood-burning (or yak-dung burning) cook stove which has the dual benefit of being very fuel efficient (environmentally friendly) and dramatically reducing the indoor air pollution (huge health issue/benefit). I heard about the stove when we were in Bhutan last October. It's a US design and is manufactured in India - 120,000 have been sold in the last three years in India .... it's very real - proven in the field, and in it's second generation of the basic design.


80% of rural households in developing countries cook with solid fuels like wood, coal, crop residues and dung. In many instances, women cook around open fires, typically with a pot atop three large stones and a wood fire in the middle.
Indoor air pollution, including smoke, carbon monoxide and other products of incomplete combustion, is a major environmental and health risk factor.

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.6 million people a year die of health effects resulting from toxic indoor air. The problem disproportionately falls on women and children who spend hours each day around the hearth. Of that 1.6 million, one million children die of pneumonia, and 600,000 women die prematurely of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases like bronchitis and emphysema.

For decades, numerous small-scale efforts to introduce improved stoves in countries like China, India and Nepal have achieved modest gains.

Envirofit was formed in 2003 and researchers and engineers are designing and testing clean-burning stoves that they say will significantly improve air quality and require less fuel.
Envirofit will offer a variety of sleek ceramic stoves from single to multipot, with and without chimneys.
[As of early 2010 Envirofit has manufactured and sold more than 120,000 stoves in India]

Features
Reduces smoke and harmful gasses by up to 80%
Reduces biomass fuel use by up to 60%
Reduces cooking time by up to 50%

The G-3355 Double pot accessory with chimney is the perfect add-on for customers who want the portability and ease of using the single-pot stove, but need the extra cooking area for large families, festivals, or cooking for visitors.

The attachment is easily moved onto or off of the stove for quick change ability but is steady and sturdy while attached.
The chimney portion can be used as is - to move any minimal emissions out of the face of the person cooking - or can be vented out of the home.


MVX can buy the stoves and 2-pot kit and deliver them in Kathmandu for less than $100. We will do the fund-raising in the US (and England, and New Zealand, and wherever we can find a constituency), starting initially through the climbing community, but reaching out as broadly as we can - "change a family's life for $100" (and help protect the local environment as well - still working on "the message").


My goal is to distribute 10,000 of the stoves over the next five years in the Himalayan Region.It could of course be expanded to other areas, worldwide, though the nature of the item is such that transportation costs are significant - pretty easy to get them from India to Nepal by truck, but a bit more complex and costly to Africa or other destinations. We will, later this month, send a sample shipment (several dozen stoves and 2-pot units) to K-du for evaluation and trial.


This product is right in line with how MVX operates in the world of adventure travel and I hope to continue the quest to "add" anything we can to show our appreciation for the wonders of the world which we visit.

Monday, July 5, 2010

MVX goes to Mexico

This is surely the most unique trip we offer on several different levels. You think you know Mexico? We are ready to give you a completely different taste of this "familiar" land. We combine the physical challenge of ascending one of Mexico's highest volcanoes with the thrill of descending one of it's most amazing gorge rivers. And to top it off, we will share the remarkable Dinner In The Dark experience...where we will enjoy a delicious meal served in a room completely void of light...with a remarkable blind wait staff providing guidance.


The Ascent:
Malinche, 4,480 meters high is an extinct volcanoe that rises 2,000 meters above the Puebla altiplano. The ascent is physically demanding, primarily due to the altitude gain, however the terrain is not exceptionally difficult. It is mostly done on a trail that winds it´s way through the forest up to 4,000 meters and then cruises up a loose ash, scree slope. A hundred meters below the summit there is a boulder section that requires some scrambling. The summit provides a remarkable view of the other 3 surrounding vocanoes and the sprawl of Mexico City below. In all, a 3 day ascent to almost 15,000ft.
Alter descending from the summit of Malinche we drive down for an overnight stay at a picturesque 17th century hacienda...Jalcomulco Veracruz.

The Descent:
Jalcomulco Veracruz is a picturesque village amidst the Veracruz rainforest, our take off point for a descent of the beautiful Río Pescados. This fun and exciting moderate river rafting experience takes you through the core of the jungle ecosystem, passing just under 300 ft cliffs, waterfalls and various flora and fauna typical of the region. The river runs narrow and swift through a combination of mango plantations and tropical forests. From the river source of Descabezadero, where springs gush out of a fern covered natural limestone amphitheatre to the take out, 20 km downstream, the river offers almost nonstop Class II and III whitewater. The rapids are perfect for first timers as well as technical and challenging enough for experienced river runners to enjoy.

Once you have completed the 3 hour raft journey through the jungle we continue with our theme of "descent" as we head off to do some rappellingl in the heart of the Veracruz jungle. Several rappel lines will be set up for a slow, controlled desecent into some of the stunning limestone caves that are found in the Veracruz region.
The descending continues as we begin our canyoneering section of the trip. We will hike and slide down a wonderfully polished and dramatic canyon that has sevearal optional jumps ranging from 10 to 30 ft. into crystal clear pools.
Then, to top it off we let the day "soak" into us as we participate in a local custom...a Temascal (steam bath) to unwind from it all.

Dinner In The Dark:
After all of that excitement...this is quite possilby the highlight of the trip.The taste is EVERYTHING in the dark! Imagine eating an entire, exquisite meal with not the slightest bit of light. With the complete loss of vision — and the resulting heightening of the other four senses — an evening at Mexico's first-ever dark restaurant is an extraordinary culinary adventure. As taste buds work overtime to discover fresh nuances in well-known flavors, even simple, everyday foods like potatoes or plain yogurt morph into nouvelle cuisine. Your waiters play a particularly important role — all of them are either visually handicapped or completely blind, and they not only serve the meals but also act as guides to you, the stumbling diner. Once they have shepherded the clientele through a "light lock" to their table in the pitch black dining room, the specially trained staff offer reassurance to the nervous and instruction on how to best to tackle the food and drink.
This meal always provides the diners with endless conversation topics..."my senses were so heightened". "I made such a mess". "The wait staff was incredible". A dinner in the dark experience will forever change how you perceive the world around you.
All of this in just 7 days! An amazing journey into Mexico...from the one of highest points to one of the lowest...we take you on a trip through the land of enchantment.

Contact us at info@mountain-vision.com for more info.

Join us and share the Vision...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kids Escaping Drugs climbs Kili

Our annual Kilimanjaro Grand Expedition will be taking place this year in August. Most of the client/climbers on the trip will be taking part in the expedition to raise funds for a wonderful non-profit out of Buffalo, NY called Kids Escaping Drugs. One of our climbers, Brian Kruszka is a successful graduate of the program and a living testament to it's worthiness.
Check out the KED website. Once we depart on August 14th, we will be posting daily dispatches with our progress. More details to come.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Soldiers To The Summit website

The Soldiers To The Summit website is up and running!
This will be the main site that will feature all of the stories, dispatches, photos and videos of our upcoming adventure in October. The site will also serve as a sponsorship and donation portal for all who would like to contribute to our goal of taking our wounded warriors high in the Himalaya.
http://soldierstothesummit.org/

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why I Travel

A very cool excerpt from an article by Rick Stevens...

We travel to have enlightening experiences, to meet inspirational people, to be stimulated, to learn, and to grow. Travel has taught me the fun in having my cultural furniture rearranged and my ethnocentric self-assuredness walloped. It has humbled me, enriched my life, and tuned me in to a rapidly changing world.

I enjoy bettering myself by observing others. And I appreciate constructive criticism from caring friends. In that same spirit, I enjoy learning about my society by observing other societies and challenging myself (and my neighbors) to be broad-minded when it comes to international issues. Holding our country to a high standard and searching for ways to better live up to its lofty ideals is not “America-bashing.” It’s good citizenship. I’m unapologetically proud to be an American.

The United States has made me who I am. I spend plenty of time in other countries, but America is a great and innovative nation and other nations have some pretty good ideas, too. By learning from our travels and bringing these ideas home, we can make our nation even stronger.

As a nation of immigrants whose very origin is based on the power of diversity (“out of many, one”), this should come naturally to us... and be celebrated.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vail Symposium Event

A unique opportunity to hear Jeff and the MountainVision keynote in Vail, open to the public and best of all....FREE.
Jeff will be the keynote speaker at the Vail Symposium on Thursday, February 25th. Tickets are free, however they do expect the 250 seat theatre to sell out. Information and details can be found on the Vail Symposium website.

A brief article from the Vail Daily regarding the visit:

VAIL, Colorado — This year alone, mountaineering guide and author Jeff Evans is undertaking five adventures that would be considered daunting by nearly anyone's standards. In June he will trek to Machu Picchu and then climb Nevado Copa in Peru's Cordillera Blanca range; in August he'll guide his 10th trip up Kilimanjaro in Tanzania; in September and October he'll lead 12 wounded U.S. soldiers up Lobouche East, a 20,075 foot peak at the foot of Mount Everest in Nepal; and in December, he'll return to Kilimanjaro to lead a private group up the mountain.


Despite Evans' upcoming trips, and the other things he's done over the past 20 years — he's stood on six continents and been on seven Himalayan expeditions — it was saying one word 16 years ago that he considers to be the most adventurous thing he's ever done. “Initially it was accepting the role of being the head guide for an unknown blind dude who wanted to go climb mountains,” Evans said during a phone interview this week. “It's taken me here, to this point.


”The “blind dude” is Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind man in history to have summited Everest as well as the world's “seven summits” — the highest peak on every continent. “Erik kept asking all of these established mountain guides and no one wanted to do it,” Evans said. “He got all the way down the list to the losers like me and I said, ‘yeah, sure.'”


The two summited Everest on May 25, 2001, which Weihenmayer wrote about in his memoir “Touch the Top of the World.” The expedition was also chronicled in the documentary “Farther Than The Eye Can See.”Evans will speak at the Vail Symposium's Unlimited Adventure series Thursday evening at Donovan Pavilion in Vail. “If you love the mountains, you will thoroughly enjoy hearing from Jeff's varied experience,” said Carrie Marsh, executive director of the Vail Symposium.


Adventure Stories

Evans will show a slide show and talk about some of the adventures he's had over the years with Weihenmayer, including an expedition with six blind Tibetan teenagers that took the group to 21,500 feet on the flanks of Mount Everest. The trip was chronicled in the documentary “Blindsight,” which has won a handful of awards.“The trip, as most trips do, evolved into something completely different than what we expected,” Evans said. “It turned into a study of cultures ... (the teenagers) were out for adventure, and we wanted to climb a big mountain.


”He'll also discuss some of his solo adventure races and talk about what the future holds — including the expedition with half a dozen wounded soldiers planned for this coming fall.“These are men — and hopefully women too — who have all been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Evans said. “Some are blind, some have amputations and other disabilities.”The $500,000 project will be filmed in HD — and perhaps with Imax 3D cameras — by six Marine field cameramen. Tom Brokaw will narrate the film and adventure filmmaker Michael Brown (he also did “Farther Than The Eye Can See”) will produce and edit the film. “We're working with World Team Sports and their whole mission is bringing injured soldiers to these adventurous places,” Evans said. “These soldiers are guys who have given a lot and who have been hammered. Now it's time for them to reclaim their lives.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Soldiers To The Summit

In September of this year, Jeff will be leading an amazing trip to Nepal that will include 12 injured US soldiers.
Many opportunities exist for both individual and corporate involvement/sponsorship:



Soldiers to the Summit Himalayan Expedition

What the Soldiers to the Summit Expedition is about:
12 Injured Soldiers
6 Successful Everest Climbers
One Challenging Summit
A World of Opportunity

Project Description:
Among the many tragedies of war are the serious injuries inflicted upon our soldiers. When they return home, these heroes often have disabilities that may seem insurmountable. The goal of the Soldiers to the Summit Himalayan Expedition (SSHE) and World TEAM Sports is to demonstrate to everyone that great things can be achieved no matter how high the obstacles.

In spring of 2001, the most successful expedition in Everest history placed 19 climbers on the summit. Among them was Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind person to climb the highest mountain on all seven continents. This momentous achievement proved to be life changing for each of the team members. Indeed, many have returned to the Himalaya; between them, they now have reached the summit of Everest 32 times. With the tenth anniversary of their historic expedition approaching, the team wants to give back in a meaningful way.

The SSHE will assemble a team of injured military men and women. Together with our sponsors, we will prepare for our Himalayan ascent with a training weekend in Colorado. Then in the fall, we will depart for Nepal to attempt an ascent of Lobuche East, a spectacular 20,075 foot peak at the foot of Mount Everest.

With Erik and the Everest team, our injured soldiers will have an adventure that few able-bodied people can imagine. It will be a mental and physical challenge for everyone—and will undoubtedly be one of the greatest experiences of their lives.

Expedition Team:
The SSHE team will consist of military men and women with various disabilities. Their incredible journeys of survival, challenge, recovery, and transformation will motivate each other and fuel their effort through the rugged high-mountain environment. These ‘wounded warriors’ have a strong desire to demonstrate the human spirit by giving back to their fellow service men and women. The soldiers will need to support each other as they focus on abilities over disabilities and find a collective team strength.

The support team will include Erik Weihenmayer who will demonstrate the skills he developed to overcome his own disability, blindness (http://touchthetop.com). Many members of his Everest team have signed on to help the soldiers reach their own summit.

The expedition organizer is World TEAM Sports (http://www.worldteamsports.org), a non-profit organization that showcases what can be achieved through the power of an inclusive and diverse team. Since 1987, WTS has organized high-profile athletic events around the globe with the motto, “The Exceptional Athlete Matters (TEAM).” Among their many achievements are two successful expeditions to Kilimanjaro, bike rides across the United States and Vietnam, and a 13,000-mile around-the-world ride that took 9 months.

Outward Bound, the world famous outdoor education organization, will help train the team at their Leadville, Colorado campus through its Veterans program (http://www.outwardbound.org/index.cfm/do/cp.veterans). By the time our soldiers leave for Nepal in September, they will have the necessary skills and physical conditioning to achieve our goal.

Peak Details:
The summit of Lobuche East is located just 8.7 miles from the summit of Mount Everest. At 20,075 feet, this striking peak will require good physical conditioning and adequate time to adjust to the altitude. From the airstrip in Lukla, it takes seven days of trekking through the spectacular Khumbu region to reach Advance Base Camp at 18,212 feet.

The route up the South Ridge begins with steep (50°) snow and ice slopes, where we will fix lines to assist and protect our veterans. A high camp will be established where the slopes meet the ridge, allowing us to get a good rest before the summit bid.

The sinuous, knife-edged snow ridge leads directly to the top, although a false summit is the high point for most climbers. Our team will continue to the true East Summit of Lobuche, which requires either descending into a notch and up the final snow slopes or rigging a rope traverse between these points.

From the summit, our veterans will be treated to incredible views of Ama Dablam (22,349 feet), Pumori (23,494 feet), Nuptse (25,790 feet), Lhotse (27,940 feet), and towering above all, Everest (29,029 feet). The descent to Base Camp will be done in just a few hours.

Logistics:
Participation: Approximately 12-14 injured service men and women
Duration: 20 days
Departure: Tentatively September 24, 2010
Support Trek: A small group of supporters will have the opportunity to trek to Base Camp for a donation of $15,000. While the expedition is climbing Lobuche, these trekkers can continue on to Kala Patar, which overlooks Everest Base Camp.

Promotion:
Great challenges deserve great publicity. The Soldiers to the Summit Himalayan Expedition is an exciting candidate for media attention. Clearly not a mere publicity stunt, this climb offers a compelling story about true heroes trying to better themselves and fellow injured soldiers. We will facilitate this media coverage with press releases, a web site, blog posts, and social networking.

A documentary film team will accompany the SSHE, either for national network coverage or a film. Michael Brown, who produced the award-winning film “Farther Than The Eye Can See” (21 international film festival awards; named by Men’s Journal as one of the Twenty Best Adventure DVDs of all time) about the Erik’s Everest climb, has himself climbed Everest four times and operates Serac Adventure Films (http://www.seracfilms.com/) and has won numerous awards including 3 Emmys. The expedition will also include a professional still photographer and writer who can provide images and articles to media and sponsors.


Sponsorship Opportunities:
Presenting Sponsor: $150,000
Summit Sponsor: $50,000
Base Camp Sponsor: $25,000
Sponsor an Injured Soldier: $10,000
Film Sponsor: $250,000
Support Trekkers: $15,000


Contact Jeff at Jeff@mountain-vision.com or call the MVX office at 303.880.8707

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jeff Featured in Nikki Stones New Book..."When Turtles Fly"

Read my story in Olympic Gold Medalist, Nikki Stone’s book “When Turtles Fly”: http://tiny.cc/F9Eqt.
Secrets of successful people who know how to stick their necks out, featuring a chapter about me guiding blind climber, Erik Weihenmayer.

Availabe through Amazon on January 26th.
25% of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haitian Earthquake


Anyone that has read about the tragic earthquake in Haiti is well aware of the devastation that it caused. Families torn apart...infrastructure in shambles. At this point it appears that they are actually turning relief workers away simply due to lack of water and supplies to take care of the victims, much less the volunteer workers. So what can we do? Donate. The most reliable resource out there has been and will always be the Red Cross. Please donate..even $10 would help. This website makes it easy...Red Cross.