October 7, 2013
Today I am embarking on a month-long adventure in Peru. First, I’ll be joining a team of injured veterans as part of our third Soldiers to Summits expedition, set high in the Peruvian Andes. S2S is part of my No Barriers organization in which we use mountain journeys as both a metaphor and training ground for setting goals, building world-class teams, innovating through adversity and stepping up to lead and serve others again. Along the trail, we'll be talking about how to develop a No Barriers mindset to equip us to push through all those obstacles that try to knock us flat as we try to live a purposeful life. Check out this video to learn more about the vision and the mission behind Soldiers to Summits. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0Kd1jYmINg We’ve already had two exciting and successful programs, Nepal in 2010 and Ecuador in 2012. For our expedition this year, we’ll be spending much of the first week, trekking through an area in the Andes called the Cordillera Vilacanota and becoming acclimatized to the 15,000 foot elevation. As a capstone to the climbing portion of the program, we’ll be making an attempt on 17,800- foot Mariposa 1, and together facing the challenges of the big mountains. In addition to the climb, the participants will help give back through a service project in a remote village, installing a solar panel for a school-house and building a pedestrian bridge. I'm hoping the participants come together as one team, and that team becomes each other's support system as they pursue big things ahead. Stay tuned for periodic updates at www.soldierstosummits.org. After the high Mountains of the Andes, I’ll be descending to the Rio Maranon, the headwaters of the Amazon River, and often called, the Grand Canyon of South America. The Maranon flows North over about 1/3 of the length of the country of Peru in the central Andes. As it does so, it is squeezed into the bottom of a deep desert canyon. I hear some sections are surrounded by 3,000 m canyon walls - more than double the depth of Arizona’s Grand Canyon. I’ll be meeting up with some of my kayak team to paddle a hundred mile stretch of Class III–IV, whitewater. Leading our expedition is Rocky Contos, who is one of the foremost explorers of central and South American rivers. He is also a very outspoken advocate of protecting Peru’s rivers. In 2012, on an expedition to study the source of the Amazon, he discovered plans to build more than a dozen hydroelectric dams along the Maranon, thus flooding this amazing canyon and destroying or displacing all who inhabit. Rocky’s hope is that by bringing awareness through expeditions such as the one we are embarking upon, this amazing river can be saved from Peru’s ever growing need for hydropower. More information about the Maranon, as well as info on the dams can be found in this video: http://vimeo.com/61109898 Or on Rocky’s website:http://www.sierrarios.org/GuidedTrips/RaftTripInfo_Maranon.html We’ll be posting Facebook updates along the way via satellite and will have a full adventure report upon our return. Wish me good climbing and kayaking!