The Moment That Takes Your Breath Away

I love following inspiring people on Instagram and feeding on their energy both in those moments when I need that extra boost as well as those moments when I feel like I’m on top of the mountain. One of the people that inspires me at every step is Adrian Balllinger, a professional athlete with so many unbelievable achievements, it’s almost hard to believe he’s actually human. He is the only American who has skied two 8,000 meter peaks, was the first person to ski Manaslu, the 8th tallest mountain in the world, and recently became the first person to summit three 8,000 meter peaks in only 3 weeks (Everest twice and Lhotse once). Furthermore, he has achieved more than 10 summits of 8,000 meter peaks (including 6 summits of Mt. Everest).

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© Eddie Bauer

And if that’s not impressive enough, he just stood on top of Mt. Everest once again and made it there with no supplemental oxygen or fixed lines. Yes, he’s superhuman! I have no doubt about it. Here are three things that I’ve noticed about him during the years I’ve been inspired by him.

  • He takes calculated risks. Considering the level he’s reached in his career, it wouldn’t be hard for his ego to get in the way and for a mountain climber that attempts the things he does, taking risks without carefully analyzing the situation can mean serious injuries and even death for him and his team. Last year, he attempted climbing the Everest with no supplemental oxygen and failed. So this year, he not only trained harder, but also changed his diet to allow for a more efficient fat burning at high altitudes and mentally prepared for a new attempt this year. If you want to read more about his diet, check out his interview here.
  • He’s always looking for better solutions to old challenges. Climbing Mt. Everest is every mountaineer’s dream. Everybody wants to sit on top of the highest mountain in the world, towering at 29,029’ with the sun shining above, yet resting above the clouds. And ever since Sir Edmund Hillary’s ascent, people have been looking for easier, less dangerous and faster ways to get to the top. Adrian has taken things to the next level by creating a plan to take experienced climbers from US to the top of the world and back in just 40 days.
  • He dreams about the big stuff, yet stays grounded in reality. Adrian Ballinger once said: Two factors – failure to prepare and a killer mentality – can lead to injury.” Basically if you’re not really prepared, but will do anything to win the race, chances are you’ll end up getting injured. This ties back into his determination to take calculated risks. Sadly there are a lot of people who have enough money to pay for the Everest expedition, but are no way near prepared for the physical and mental endurance it requires. Their mentality is “I paid for the top, I want to make it to the top.” And sadly this mentality has claimed a lot of lives on Everest. More than 5,000 climbers have attempted to climb Mt Everest since Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and nearly 300 have died trying. Many of the victims remain on the mountain, encased in snow, as it’s too difficult to bring their bodies down.
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© Eddie Bauer

As he stepped foot today yet again on top of the tallest mountain in the world along with his equally amazing climbing partner Cory Richards, a National Geographic photographer and climber, snapchatting their way to the top #EverestNoFilter, I can’t help but smile as look at his photos in awe. He is truly inspiring everyone around him and millions of people who’ve never met him to be better every single day, to strive for our dreams, to accomplish more, to surround ourselves with people we can rely on (after all the sherpas on Everest can make or break your ascent).

Which reminds me, if you don’t know Cory Richards’ story, check out this National Geographic article, he’s quite the legend.

Thank you for being a superhero, Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards! You inspire me at every step!

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