Everybody celebrates the returning summit climbers and so it was for us when we returned from Everest. But what you do not see is when the story started for many of us. For me and my teammates, it began with a devastating experience on our first expedition to Mount Everest. The fact that we met those challenges and found our own hard won truths through that difficult time is, in the end, something that I think we can all be very proud of. The year was 1980 and no Canadians had yet set foot on the summit of Mount Everest. A major expedition was formed of top Canadian climbers and I was privileged to be invited and be a part of it. It was my dream and the dream of my teammates to climb Everest. We worked extremely hard to give ourselves every opportunity to realize and seize that dream. As the expedition grew, many changes took place, not the least of which was we went through two leadership changes. In the spring of 1982 we flew into Nepal and began our two week journey into the Base of Mount Everest. The most significant problems started soon after our arrival in Base camp. Two days after arriving seven climbers were caught in an avalanche that swept though the Khumbu icefall. Four were rescued and, tragically, three Nepalese Sherpas were killed. It was a major blow to the expedition. Then, just two days later as we were getting back on our feet, and we had just established Camp 1, disaster struck again in the icefall. Our Canadian climbing partner Blair Griffiths was caught in a massive shift of ice, crushed between two immense blocks. We were all in a state of disbelief. We had questions - were we cursed, had we displeased the Himalayan gods or were there some fatal flaws in our planning and execution?
JIM ELZINGA WELCOMES PARTICIPANTS
What I would like to encourage you to do today is to make the most of TeamEverest by staying true to your values; quite simply, be yourself. As in real life, you will encounter challenges in which there are no clear right or wrongs, the answer is never definite but there is always a very real outcome. So that you can measure yourselves and your team against real outcomes, we have made every challenge in TeamEverest true-to-life; all the incidents and stories you will hear really happened on Everest. I believe what saw us through those most difficult days was the compelling force of the pictures we had created as individuals, and together these pictures formed a vision that united us as a team.
What I would like you to do today and what I would encourage you to do is to pay attention to the pictures that compel you. Now as you go up the mountain, I will be checking back in with you at critical moments during your climb. Good luck to you on your adventure, and as they say in the Himalayas, Namaste.
STARTING WITH THE END IN MIND
There are over 30 possible videos that we draw upon to create the basic narrative. It's like a custom keynote woven into an experiential learning program; keeping it fresh and relevant each time the program is run.
Here's one more video - to give you a glimpse of what its like at the top.