1st Anniversary of my Everest Summit!

Exactly a year ago today, I took my last steps to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on earth.

There’s no shortcut to the top of the world. Those last few steps on the summit ridge represented the conclusion of years of preparation and training, including almost two months on Everest itself, acclimatizing and waiting for a summit window to arrive, which would allow a push to the summit through the dangerous Death Zone.

 

 

The most common question I get from people regarding Everest is “Why expose yourself to all the hardship and risk your life trying to reach the top of the world?”

The answer is that I’m not sure. I’ve always been keen to test my limits, both in my professional and private lives, which is probably the reason for the desire to see whether you’re strong enough physically and mentally to deal with the challenges posed by Mount Everest.

Whatever the original reason that led me to climb Mount Everest, it left a fire at the bottom of my stomach, which means that I’m not done yet. More adventures await.

20th Anniversary of the First Finnish Ascent of Mount Everest

Twenty years ago today, on May 10th, 1993, then 25 year old Veikka Gustafsson took his last steps to the summit of Mount Everest, becoming the first person from Finland to reach the top of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This historical achievement propelled Veikka to pursue all the 14 over 8000m high mountains in the world without the use of supplementary oxygen.

He completed the project 16 years later in 2009, becoming only the 17th person in history to complete this amazing feat and just the 9th to do it without the use of supplementary oxygen.

 

Veikka has been an excellent flag carrier for Finnish mountaineering and Finland as a nation throughout his project and also set a great example for the next generation of mountaineers like myself.

Thanks Veikka and congratulations on the anniversary!

IMOCA Ocean Racing World Championship

I’ve had a great albeit short trip to Lausanne, the home of the International Olympic Committee, in Switzerland. I love the views of Lake Geneva surrounded by the mountains!

I was honoured to be invited to present the awards at the IMOCA Ocean Racing World Championship ceremonies held at the amazing Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne.

 

The event was attended by four former world champion, which helped create a great atmosphere for the presentation of trophies.

The world championship went to Mr Francois Gabart, who recently won the 7th Vendee Globe, setting a new world record time for the solo round-the-world sailing race, which is regarded as the Mount Everest of sailing.

Tomorrow it’s time to pack bags and head back home – although would have happily spent a week or two in Lausanne!

Another Everest Season Begins!

Today marks the 1st year anniversary of the start of my expedition to climb Mount Everest, which was an amazing experience.

This is also a special year as it’s the 60th anniversary year of the first ascent of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay – I must admit I’m jealous of those that get to be on the mountain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year a total of 590 climbers in 54 teams and supported by +825 sherpa are looking to navigate their way to the top of the world either from Nepal or China as reported by Alan Arnette.

The South Col Route from Nepal is the most popular with 47 teams, 500 climbers and +700 sherpa. The Northeast Ridge Route from China is being pursued by 7 teams with 90 climbers and +125 sherpa. Like last year, IMG, which uses the South Col Route is the largest team on the mountain.

I have many friends on the mountain again this year, including Dean, Moe, Holly as well as the IMG team including Mike, Justin, Eric, Greg, Jenni and Ang Jangbu.

I wish them all best of luck and patience – please remember that safety comes first on Everest!

Reminiscing Mount Everest Summit Day in Riyadh

I’m in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on a business trip, which gave me a chance to catch up with my good friend Bandar who climbed Mount Everest last spring in the same team with me and shared a tent with me on several occasions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although weather in Riyadh is cool at this time of the year, it still felt a bit surreal to share a proper meal in a warm restaurant while exchanging memories from the mountain.

This is the 60th anniversary year of the first ascent of Mount Everest and a few hundred climbers will be heading to the Khumbu Valley again next month, including a few friends of mine.

I have to admit that I’m a bit jealous – putting a suit on and heading to the office is not quite as exciting as starting your journey towards the top of the world!

 

Corporate Speaking

I’ve been in Northern Europe this week doing corporate speaking, which enables me to combine my business experience and my Seven Summits expeditions to entertain, educate and motivate people from various types of businesses.

I’ve got five presentations lined up over six days in various parts of Finland and Sweden, so it’s been quite an intense trip.

Earlier today I spoke to around 270 ICT entrepreneurs and small business professionals at Kasvufoorumi – Northern Europe Summit 2013, organised by Ohjelmistoyrittäjät. The event included an impressive set of speakers, including the Finland’s Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, Mr Alexander Stubb as well as Mr Risto Siilasmaa, Chairman of Nokia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoyed the opportunity to take to the stage and share my experiences from climbing Mount Everest last year, focusing on how resolve and persistence play a role in reaching one’s goals.

It was a great event and if you missed it this year, make sure you put it into your calendar for next year!

Happy New Year!

So it’s the end of another year, time to look back and reflect as well as set some targets for next year!

The past year has been amazing for me. I spent almost 60 days on Mount Everest in the spring, which culminated into successfully summiting the mountain and reaching the top of the world on May 19th.

Roughly a month later, I completed my dream of climbing the highest mountains of every continent, known as the Seven Summits, by successfully climbing Denali in Alaska.

The Seven Summits have only been achieved by roughly 350 people and becoming the first person from my native Finland to join the group, makes it even better!

In November, my year was capped off when my wife Delanii and I welcomed a baby boy into our world and while he’s pretty much dictated our activities for the last 45 days, he’s left me a bit of time for some public speaking, which I’ve also greatly enjoyed.

I’m sure that 2013 will be full of amazing things again. Next year will also be both the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, but also the 20th anniversary of the first Finnish ascent of Mount Everest by my friend Veikka Gustafsson.

 

 

 

 

 

So, I hope that everyone has their “mountains” in mind for next year. Good luck in whatever goals you’ll pursue!

 

 

Gigapixel View of Everest Base Camp

Check out this gigapixel photo of Everest Base Camp (EBC) taken from a nearby Pumori mountain by David Breashears this May.

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, you can only see my tent – I was acclimatizing in Camp 2 at 6500m when the photo was taken.

You should also check out GlacierWorks, a non-profit organization founded by David that focuses on illustrating the changes to Himalayan glaciers through art, science and adventure.