"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves" - Sir Edmund Hillary
Shelly and I started Berlineaton out of our home in 1996 with a shared laptop and a cellphone. That would be clearly unthinkable today! It has been an eventful (Google 2009 recession) and fulfilling story: today we work from an office we purchased, are as busy as ever, and on March 1 st , Berlineaton turns 20 years old.
We’re aware that we have had the unique and privileged opportunity to engage with about 20,000 people over these past two decades, listening to them as they told us what it takes to build effective organizations. “What” we wondered “could we learn about organizational effectiveness from these 20,000 voices and share with the world?” as we entered our 21st year: the age of majority.
I also like to climb mountains. Literal mountains that is. Big mountains: mountains over 10,000 feet in altitude. The photo at the top of this blog post is of me on the summit of Mt Shasta, 14,179 feet. My personal highest point so far is Mt Rainier, the highest in the Cascade Range of the continental USA at 14, 471 feet.
I’ve always wanted to test myself above 20,000 feet, and the Berlineaton motto is: Be Bold. So, for me, it seemed pretty easy to select a suitable 20th anniversary theme: 20 years, 20,000 voices. To honour the 20,000 voices, I intend to summit a 20,000-foot mountain. I have my eyes on a few of the famed ‘Seven Summits.’
Before I attempt a summit of over 20,000 feet – possibly during the northern hemisphere’s winter of 2016/17, I thought that it would be a good idea to test my high altitude capabilities. I picked Mt Pico de Orizaba, in Mexico, as the ideal target.
Pico de Orizaba, a stratovolcano standing at 18,491 feet, is the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America after Denali and Logan. Unlike equally worthy but more ‘trekker’ focused peaks such as Mt Kilimanjaro, Orizaba is a mountaineer’s objective and requires crampons, ice axe, rope and harness along with significant experience and a sense of humour, to summit and return successfully and safely.I’m going with a local mountaineering guide to make sure that I have the best chance of success.
My only previous experience of Mexican mountaineering having been limited to knowledge gained while watching various episodes of 'Dora the Explorer' with my kids, I am understandably excited at this fantastic opportunity. I leave for Mexico in four days.
If you want to follow Richard’s climb, check out Berlineaton’s Facebook page or Twitter at @Berlineaton.