Looking ahead for 2007
an essay
Climbing in Business | Humor in Business | Surviving Meetings
Quitting your Job | Politics in Business
Tribute to Ger McDonnell|Tribute to David Hiddleston| When Good Guides Turn Bad | Why I Climb

Happy New Year!

Climbing continues to be my passion. 2006 was a difficult year for my sport.

The early winter we lost Jean-Christophe Lafaille. Sue Nott and Karen McNeill disappeared on Alaska's Foraker Peak. Then the spring deaths on Everest – most since 1996. Followed by a deadly season in the Karakorum with 6 deaths - 4 on K2. Doug Combs ice climbing accident in La Grave. Next were the fall deaths on Hood and then the loss of world class climbers Christine Boskoff and Charlie Fowler. Also there was Todd Skinner's harness failure. But the most horrific event was the blatant murder of a Tibetan nun by the Chinese military while Cho Oyu climbers looked on. Plus there were countless other tragedies that happened unreported around the world.

While the media like to cover the tragedy, it is the overwhelming positive experiences that bring delight and encouragement to my fellow climbers. Just read the entries on any climbing website on the “Why I Climb?” topics and you will feel the energy that climbers get from the struggle. There were many individual successes but a few stand out to me. A new route on Cho Oyu by Pavle Kozjek. The Everest summit by double amputee Mark Inglis. The young Japanese couple, Yuka Komatsu 23 and Tatsuya Aoki 21 on K2.

My predictions for 2007 are that our sport will see more new climbers – both young and old. We will see more exciting routes and first ascents - yes there are many still out there! And we will see more personal stories of tragedy and ... triumph.

There will be a lot of guided climbs with great personal stories. But they are often difficult to follow since censorship seems to be vogue by the companies who fear negative publicity. Transparency is good for everyone – even when it shows your mistakes. I wish that the companies would help armchair and potential climbers see that the sport is great even in its worst moments.

I will be following several individual stories this year with great interest. First, Paul Adler’s return to Everest. As many of you know he and his wife, Fi, made a great effort on the south side last spring. Fi made it and Paul did not. The reasons are unclear but oxygen was an issue. So Paul is returning, with Fi managing basecamp, for another try. This time he will not be on a big team but rather he is putting together his own climb. Their dispatches were fantastic last year and they generated quite a global following. My 2007 prediction is Paul will make it grand style and return home safely.

Nicki Branch is another great story. Quoting from her site "Without a job after 26 years, losing her mother two months later and starting menopause, what's a woman to do? Attempt to Climb Mount Everest, of course!" Nicki summited Kilimanjaro in December and is now on her way to Aconcagua. She will attempt Everest as her final 7 summit in spring 2008. Go girl go!

Of course we will have another interesting year on Everest. I am curious to see if any meaningful changes will be made on the north side. But one thing is clear - there will be record climbers. It seems that after a deadly year, the interest in climbing goes up. My prediction is for a more "normal" year since operators will be more conservative and hopefully, climbers will be more realistic and careful.

As for me, I write on my home page:

2006 was another year of adventures for me with my expedition to Broad Peak and K2 plus some new Colorado 14ers. It was also a year of milestones, joy and sadness: my 50th birthday, Ashley joining the workforce with her MPH from UCLA and the passing of my dad.

These events reinforced my philosophy to live every day to the max and never let something go unsaid you would want to say until it is too late.

I am not sure what I will climb in 2007. I have some ideas and perhaps something big. But I am sure there will bring new challenges and some adventures so stay tuned.

Thanks for making this site a daily read. It had a record number of visitors this year. I have tried to keep it fresh with new dispatches, trip reports, interesting pictures and videos and, of course, Climbing News. I will continue in 2007 along with my annual coverage of the Everest spring season.

My personal best wishes for each of you in 2007. And, please get out there and climb something!

Climb High, Climb Safe, Climb On!