Adventure as a catalyst for clarity.
Two Summits – Six Days – Mindfulness, Men’s Work, and High-Altitude Mountaineering
Ten days after returning from Mexico City, I continue to feel grounded and revitalized. It is amazing what a week away from routine and daily responsibility coupled with being in the community of men and engaging in significant challenge will do for your body and mind – clarity, energy, and perspective. All good things.
The expedition began in Mexico City with a gear check, kick-off dinner, and time walking the streets surrounded by the iconic Art Deco architecture and pace of the sixth largest city in the world – this city is amazing and diverse.
The expedition is rapid in nature – fly to Mexico City, climb two high-altitude peaks in six days, spend the final day integrating the experience, and then return home. It’s a lot to accomplish in a short window of time. The goal: offer an opportunity to unplug, reset, and re-engage in your life while in community with other men to offer clear and honest feedback and reflection.
I was honored to support this team as they each showed up fully, vulnerable, and willing to set their ego aside for deeper learning and to be in service of the team and other. It was amazing to witness.
We set out to acclimate to the altitude with a summit climb of Malinche (14,636 ft). The night before our summit ascent we stayed at a cabin at the base of the mountain and began our climb with a dawn start to catch the sunrise. One thing I love about this expedition is that it is non-technical in nature and open to all abilities – all while offering the opportunity to climb in an amazingly beautiful location. The non-technical nature of the climbs allows us to use the climbs as an opportunity for teaching and practicing – while this can be done on technical climbs as well, this format allows us to explore and dive deeper at a quicker pace.
Following a successful summit of Malinche, we descended off the mountain, ate more than our fair share of al pastor tacos and headed toward the base of Iztaccihuatl (17,170 ft) to the town of Amecameca. A quick gear reshuffle, showers, and repacking and we were off to Paseo de Cortes between Ixta and Popocatepetal – what an amazing place on the planet, a mountain pass between two massive volcanoes (one that is active daily!).
Integrating journaling, breath work, and a series of embodiment exercises we took a short rest day at the base of Ixta before heading off for our summit climb. We found ourselves, unplanned, under a full moon for our ascent. And on top of that it was also a lunar eclipse – the stars aligned for an incredible light show!
We climbed together in silence, the sound of foot steps on volcanic rock, deep breathing, and the wind hitting nylon shells. The sun hit us at just the right moment as we put crampons on, pulled the ice axes out, and began to travel on the summit glacier.
The trip concluded in the best way possible: a private hacienda in the mountains, private chef on-site, massage and bodywork, and the opportunity to work together to take the lessons learned from the expedition, set goals and intentions into the new year and provide feedback and reflection.
And last…but not least…this happened!
Happy Birthday Keith – it was a birthday to remember!