Thoro on top…on top of Mt. Whitney that is. Our very own Sales Representative, Paul Read and a group of five friends hiked to the summit of Mt. Whitney. I would encourage you to take a few minutes and read about Paul’s experience in his own words.

On August 25, 2011, five good friends and I accomplished a goal together that we set as a group in January, 2011. That was to successfully climb Mt. Whitney, just above Lone Pine, California. This started as conversation in October, 2010 while hiking the foothills of the Northern San Fernando Valley.

While we were all gung-ho, we were all terribly out of shape. For most of us it had been many years since we had done any back-packing or serious hiking. “It had been 40 years since I last failed at an attempt to summit Mt. Whitney, and none of my friends had attempted it at all”.  Although the Mt. Whitney trail is well maintained and the summit can be attained by anybody in good physical shape, more than 50% of the hikers who attempt it fail.

So in January of this year we started to put a plan into place that would give all of us the chance of attaining our goal. It mainly consisted of twelve training hikes that challenged us physically, mentally and spiritually. Each hike was preparation for the next one. The training schedule was put into place and had to be altered twice as some of the mountain peaks were covered in snow late into the season and were not accessible.

mtwhitneyThere were many other things that we had to focus on in training, such as the right food and drinks to support our bodies while hiking, as well as combating the thinner air at higher altitudes. Our diet had to become a part of our everyday lives; it wasn’t something that we could change just for the individual hikes.

After seven months of training together, we set out at 2:00 AM Thursday morning on August 25, 2011. Four of us reached the summit at 9:20 AM and the other two approximately two hours later. The latter two combated altitude sickness and still made it. Our collective hats are off to them. They said if it wasn’t for the training, they wouldn’t have made it. 6 out of 6 made it to the top! Fantastic!

To wrap things up, without knowing exactly what we were in for, we acknowledged a collective desire to successfully summit the highest mountain in the lower 48 states. The keys to success were; 1) Outlining a schedule to successfully attain our goal. 2) Keeping an open mind and having the required humility to be able to learn. 3) Remaining willing to push ourselves as individuals and as a group. 4) Probably the most important was a genuine desire to support each other throughout the year.  It has been a great experience to be part of this group and to accomplish what we set out to do. I believe the end result was just the culmination of defined efforts. The efforts themselves were the life experiences that I will treasure always.