Adventure Stories · Best Lists · Movies

#Climbing Movie of the Week: Beyond the Edge

“I think it’s really all a matter of challenge, not so much challenge only with the mountain, but challenge with oneself. Seeing if you can force yourself to overcome your fears and hopefully, ultimately get to the top.” -Edmund Hillary

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 8.12.24 PMWith the recent news of Melissa Arnot’s summit (and surviving descent) of Everest without supplemental oxygen and the deaths of more climbers to add to the mountain’s death toll, Everest is once again in the headlines.

For those of you who want a deeper look into the quest (besides the Hollywood produced “Everest”), this 2013 film is worth a evening on the couch.

Using both archival footage and modern recreations, the film both retraces and recreates Edmund Hilliary’s arrival in Kathmandu to Everest base camp. The goal was to summit on May 15. Enter Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa climbing Everest since 1935, who had been up the mountain 6 times already.

Here are a few factoids:

In 1953 there was a race to summit the yet-to-be conquered Everest. At that point 10 attempts had been made. By range of comparison, over 7k people have now attempted Everest to date, according to Outside Magazine. The British Everest Expedition led that year included beekeeper, Edmund Hillary, age 33. But he had also been a climber for 10 years, and already had several trips to the Himalaya.

There were 13 members of the expedition, 30 full time sherpas, and 600 porters. There had already been 7 British attempts already. The Swiss had almost done it in 1952, so there was incredible pressure to succeed.

Remember folks, the knowledge of altitude at this time was limited. As noted in the film, “It was like sending someone into space. No one knew wherther or not it could be done.” 13 deaths had already occurred and zero summits.

Throughout the film, there is rolling commentary from Edmund’s and Tenzings sons along with Jim Whittaker, the 1st American to summit Everest in 1963. As he notes, “Put a pillow over your mouth and try and breath through it as you’re running…you’re trying to get enough air, and the oxygen debt builds up until you just can’t go.”

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Tension mounts as the men struggle to get up the Lhotse Face and reach the South Col, and a monsoon is building in the Bay of Bengal. The expedition seemed to be unraveling. By this time it is the 21st of May and Hillary and Norgay are forced to lead 13 Sherpas who only had tea for breakfast into a 13 hour climbing day without oxygen. (cue jaw drop)

(Imagine…no top of the line North face clothing, no Black Diamond ice axes, no Scarpa boots… from the looks of the film, they wore flannel shirts, wool sweaters, parachute pants, and whatever the best technology had to offer at the time, and according to the movie, even leaving camps with bare hands.)

As poignantly noted by Whitaker, “There’s just certain human beings able to put one foot in front of the other, you know, relentlessly, psychologically able to do it, whereas other people would fail.”

The result: On May 29, 1953 at 11:30 am Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay summited Mount Everest at 29,035 feet.

Definitely a worthy watch for all those interested in the outdoors, alpine climbing, and of course, the mystery and history of Mount Everest.

How To

5 Easy Ways to Show Gratitude

I know, it’s hard to be grateful sometimes. When we lose a loved one to accidents, illness, or tragedy…when we fall prey to injustice, crime, and hate, life seems unspeakably unfair, and our anger and hurt can blind us to our blessings. But there is hope, there is always hope…and that first step to healing and peace comes with one life-changing adjustment, gratitude.

I encourage you to take these easy steps, in whatever pace or order you find comfortable, and I promise you, from the bottom of my heart and from someone who has learned the life-breathing power of gratitude, it will change your life and relationships forever:

  1. Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 2.32.45 PMVolunteer: This can be as big or little as you can handle. From taking a shift at a soup kitchen to planning a soiree fundraiser, use YOUR skills and experience to help others. Putting your wants and desires on the side is a surefire way to lift you out of your own problems and into the light and grace of giving.

    “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward

  2. Pray: Bow your head, lift your eyes up to the sky, or simply lie in bed with your eyes closed. Whether you are religious, spiritual, somewhere in between, or not there yet, stopping and giving thanks fills your spirit with gratitude and puts good into the air.

    “I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” – E.E. Cummings

  3. Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 3.15.29 PMMeditate: You might be thinking, “But that’s too hard!” or “I can’t meditate, it never works for me!” BELIEVE me, I’ve been there. When your mind races a mile a minute, and you think you are never going to be able to ‘quiet the mind.’ I promise, with practice, it will happen. It’s like exercise. It’s awkward at first, but once you hit that zone, (think of a runners zone) you’ll be asking yourself why you haven’t done it before and you’ll crave it every day. (This is a big one for parents and single mommas like me)

    “There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” – Ralph H. Blum

  4. Hug someone: Your child, your friend, a stranger (be courteous of their space and with permission). I have actually been looked at funny/down on for hugging homeless people. Don’t ever, ever let people like that guide your actions. Go with your heart. You can bring joy to people who need it most, and give love to those who didn’t know they needed it.

    “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” – Oscar Wilde

  5. Write: A text, an email, a greeting card, or (gasp!) an actual letter. While the latter might seem like a foreign concept in today’s techno world, receiving a hand-written letter is an incredible experience to have and to share. Try it. Whatever you choose, let the people in your life know how much they mean to you. We all know how quickly that can change.

    “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners that make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

Are there other ways you show gratitude? Comment in the section below.


xoxo LD


10 Quotes to Help You Find Peace (on the trail of life)

These eloquent words of wisdom have given me beautiful direction and focus in my own bumpy and precarious life. When anger, disappointment, and hurt threaten the very core of my peace and faith, these words are a poignant reminder of a life bigger than my own. May these quotes give you the same hope, insight, and desire for peace.  Meditate on them as you walk both your physical and spiritual trails through life.

Learning the true path:

There is no path to peace. Peace is the path. -Gandhi

To be spiritually minded is life and peace. -Romans 8:6

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we reach that goal. -Martin Luther King Jr.

We are called to action:

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. -Francis of Assisi

We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves. -The Dalai Lama

Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, not as you think it should be. -Wayne W. Dyer

Peace begins with a smile. -Mother Theresa

How can I have peace? Not by talking about peace, but by walking
along the road of peace.– Sri Chinmoy

Peace through LOVE: 

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. -Buddha

Love, peace, joy, and harmony are the best vitamins in the universe. -Philip Arnold


May peace fill all the days of your life.