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Keep Cool, Strive High

10 September 2014: posted by BigChange

Last week, one of the world’s leading climbers, Kenton Cool, led Sam Branson and the rest of the Virgin STRIVE Challenge Core Team up the Matterhorn with the Dream Guides. They were truly tested by the elements as the conditions of the mountain made for a difficult and dangerous climb. Kenton is no stranger to Striving and adventure; he quite literally has to overcome obstacles (mountains) as his profession… Here is what Kenton had to say about goal setting and the importance of life skills…

My line of work as a professional mountaineer and a mountain guide has allowed me to embark on some fantastic adventures – I have climbed Everest 11 times. I have travelled the world and lived like a Sherpa. I am one of the founders of the King’s Challenge in Bhutan with the aim of preserving the environment and local culture. Most recently, I climbed the Matterhorn with Sam Branson on the Virgin STRIVE Challenge.

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Photo by Jack Brockway

Being part of a successful expedition comes down to good management skills.

The Life Skills that are used on the mountain are the same as the ones you would use in every day life.  Communication, teamwork, resilience and a pinch of good luck will determine your success… the only difference being that a mistake up on the hill can mean life or death….working in this environment has given me clarity about what is really important in life.

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Photo by Jack Brockway

On the Virgin STRIVE Challenge, the goal was clear: get up and down the Matterhorn safely and successfully. This is the kind of clarity we need in every day life when we set goals. We weren’t able to descend the Matterhorn this time due to something out of our immediate control (Sams life threatening AMS), but it was still a successful day. The whole team learned that there are many parameters that were out of our control, especially in the mountains. It really showed to us all that the only thing we have complete control over is our own attitude.

It really showed to us all that the only thing we have complete control over is our own attitude.

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Photo by Jon Griffith

My advice to young people today is to follow your passion. Don’t let anyone tell you something is impossible. If you follow whatever ignites your passion, whether it is mountaineering, poetry, science, you will become a person who is whole and happy. Success won’t come easily but if everything in life was a guarantee then they would be no challenge to our being!