“Bagging a Peak”; Considering Strategic Partners and Solo-Climbs

hero_001_blog_2 (1)

Deliberately placing each foot in front of the other, Greg waits between steps and breathes in and out. Mountaineering is not a terribly fast paced activity. On really hard climbs, where the atmosphere is thinner, he spends quite a bit of time focusing on his breathing.

The walking is actually quite simple. It’s the other parts, like intentionally zoning in breathing correctly, that can slow you down.

The first time Greg attempted mountaineering, he set the lofty goal of climbing Mt. Cotopaxi outside of Quito, Ecuador. At 19,374 feet, it’s a decent sized volcanic mountain, and a fairly hefty mountaineering goal. He has been an avid hiker and backpacker for many years, but was ready for something much larger, a goal that would challenge and inspire him: Mt. Cotopaxi.

Climbing a mountain can fill you with such joy and a great sense of accomplishment. The energy and effort required to summit a mountain, or to “bag a peak,” is unreal.

Yet, greater still is the reward, the rush of endorphins, and the sense that you did something super challenging. No matter how big or small, whether it’s a 6000 foot goal, or a 19,000 foot goal, getting to the top of a mountain means being rewarded with the large vista spanning before your eyes.

In mountaineering, there are tons of things to consider. In the Dreaming of Everest post, we reflected on the collaborative role the Sherpa plays in helping people to reach their goals. Likewise, on this trail, Greg contracted a professional company and guide to help him plan and complete his ascent in the most efficient way possible.

So, with a guide, equipment, and a clear path, he set out to conquer the mountain in the early morning darkness.

At Radar, we have been in both Greg’s shoes and the guide-company’s shoes. We know what it means to scale a “creative mountain” with the help of strategic partners, and there are some mountains that we know like the back of our hand, and we gladly lead our clients up those craggy cliffs.

We’re in it for the adventure, together.

This post is the ninth of a multi-part blog series, “The Camping Creative,” tying together the tent-pegs of camping and creativity. Read the first post here.

[ Mt. Cotaxapi image from the Creative Commons by Dallas Krentzel ]

Bears? On Overcoming Obstacles & the Pricelessness of Danger

hero_001_blog_2 (1)

Deep in the lush green of the back-country, Greg is living his best life replete with a simple backpack, a water-bottle, and his map. He thinks to himself that this is where he truly belongs: on this hike, out in this wonderful wild, far away from cell-phone signal and the endless list of emails.

As he approaches a new trail up ahead, he hesitates a moment and starts to slow down.  Startled, he stops suddenly. Greg senses something ahead of him.

“What is that?” he whispers to himself, cautiously.  It was as if he could sense and hear something before he could actually see it.

Squinting into the sunlight, he strains to see what is up ahead.  His heart beat pounding now in his ears, his eyes make out the outlines of a fairly huge bear feasting on a carcass. It was maybe forty or fifty feet in the distance.

All in an instant, Greg’s moment of hiking-zen is interrupted by mental images of the horrific bear scene in The Revenant.

“Snap out of it, bro,” he whispers to himself.  “That’s a huge bear, but it doesn’t look like a grizzly.”

Slowly, he backs away quietly, keeping his eyes glued on the bear, grateful that he wasn’t noticed by the beast in the midst of its carcass-feasting.  He waits until the bear is completely out of view and then starts jogging back to his tent.

“New plan,” he breathes aloud, grateful for the wild encounter.

“I’ve learnt it’s not really an adventure until something goes wrong.” – Bear Grylls, Adventurer

Overcoming unexpected obstacles is a key part of the creative process. At Radar, we’ve learned that sometimes encountering “the bear” is a gift: it means turning around and retreating on a route that we originally thought was ideal. Sometimes it even means going back to the Roost to rest and re-group, much like Greg had to return to his campsite.

While hindsight is always 20/20, in the midst of a stressful project that encounters obstacles, we try to remind ourselves that having to pivot on a dime forces us to think in new, creative ways.

Sometimes the encounter with the bear is exactly the “dangerous moment” we needed. Pivoting on our plan forces to think strategically and creatively on new levels.

It reminds us that this is the adventure that we signed up for.


The Camping Creative is the eighth of a multi-part blog series, tying together the tent-pegs of camping and creativity.  Read the first post here.

[Camping image from Creative Commons by Jakob Walter]