Failure and Success in the Mountains - By Alexander E. Hillary

March 03, 2020

Late last year my brother George and I began the journey to Mt Everest. As a Hillary, perhaps our whole lives have led to that journey, but in 2019 it became very real.

We were pouring immense effort and time into improving our mountain fitness and skill. I spent a month in the French Alps running steep mountain trails and doing long traverses and by the time we arrived in Kathmandu to begin our Mt Ama Dablam expedition, we felt strong and confident.

The highest we had climbed in the Himalaya’s before this was 6,200m; a long shot from our ambitions.

The plan was to climb peaks building to Everest’s gargantuan height. First Lobuche (6,089m), then Ama Dablam (6,895m) and finally Everest (8,848m) in March 2020.

For a month and a half, we hiked and climbed in the Khumbu Himalaya, testing our gear and our strength.

 

On the rock cliffs and pillars of Ama Dablam, we wore our Lowa Expedition 8000 meter boots, pushing them to the limit.

 

When in exposed and isolated places you really value your gear and equipment. At one point we had a heli come in at 6,200m and it blew my helmet out of the tent vestibule and sent it plummeting 60 metres down to a ledge on the cliff.

What I value about these expeditions is how universally challenging they are. It’s about overcoming a myriad of trials and learning to weather the failures and never take the successes for granted.

To our utter disappointment, our Everest expedition has been cancelled due to the film project being pulled.

Our determination and fixation are now on an unachievable goal. But only unachievable this year; we’ve already begun working on our return to Mt Everest, because after all, climbing it is about weathering failures until success.

Our training has carried on, taking us to New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

It’s a place of much lower altitude but with equally gruelling Himalayan-style climbs.

Climbing in the Himalaya isn’t just about being fit; it’s about a mindset. A mindset that requires a dogged determination and fervour for a challenge.

The training never stops.

 

Alexander Hillary

For Lowa Boots 2020

Auckland