26 years ago this week I was able to make the first snowboard descent of the iconic Grand Teton in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. My partners, Thomas Turiano and Andy Matz, believed in me and through team work and trust gave me the opportunity to fulfill a dream. The tent in the photo above looks similar to today’s tents, but check out Tom’s ski boots and skis. And to think of the gear that Bill Briggs used on his historic first ski descent of the Grand in 1971! Simply incredible!
As a corporate and association keynote speaker I take the lessons I’ve learned from a 20 year career of adventuring and tie them into business.
In my new keynote I focus on decision-making and creative problem-solving in the midst of extreme uncertainty — pretty much what extreme athletes and executives are facing everyday. I offer the audience some compelling takeaways in how to think effectively about your options when the pace is fast, the dangers extreme, and need to decide imminent. I weave in my own personal story of leading teams into danger in the mountains — and bringing them back safely — over twenty years of adventure and exploration from the Tetons to Tibet.
I’m very happy that Tom had good self arrest skills on June 9, 1989. Because I pulled a total rookie move and cut above him on my snowboard in the wet snow, starting a small avalanche that carried Tom towards the edge of large precipice. The only casualty was a ski pole. The lesson I learned from this mistake was to not let my guard down when I get tired and stay vigilant about safety protocols throughout the event.
Have you been in a situation where you let down your guard down in a safety situation, possibly due to fatigue or laziness, that you’d like to share?