As I prepare to depart for Nepal, I have been reflecting on the past 31 years and come to the realization that my life experiences are what have led me down this path. Let’s start from the beginning… I grew up on our family farm in Arvin, CA, where the poor air quality constantly tested my lungs, strengthening them in the process. As for my parents, I received my sense of adventure from my mother, Patty, and my determination (stubbornness?) from my father, Kent. Mom once claimed that I accounted for 95% of her stress in raising two children. Julia, my sister, would happily attest to this and I can always count on her to keep my ego in check.
At Garces Memorial High School, I spent many afternoons running stadiums, a football punishment for receiving detention, and I quickly discovered a knack for long grueling climbs. After high school, I attended Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, the greatest university in the world, and the fun was plentiful. I should also mention that I received a degree, which taught me that hard work and fun can go hand-in-hand. The ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ mantra continued when C.H. Robinson saw something in me, gave me an opportunity, and have supported my desire to climb ever since.
My passion for the mountains began when my father invited me to hike with him and we soon found it to be our sanctuary. As the hills became mountains, I crossed paths with Geoff Schellens, who quickly became my climbing mentor and one of my closest friends.
So after 31 years, I have the opportunity climb Mount Everest with my father and friend by my side, while remembering the family, hard work, education, and fun that has led me here.
Life is good.