"It's about experiencing ourselves in a very vulnerable and simultaneously empowering arena that allows us to understand ourselves just that much more…and it's a hell of a way to get a better view than the one from the office."
Recently, we were fortunate enough for Extreme Garmin Ambassador and professional climber Cory Richards to take some time away from his worldwide speaking tour and the promotion of his award winning film, "Cold". This past year, Richards along with fellow climbers Simone Moro of Italy (also a Garmin Ambassador) and Denis Urubko of Kazakhstan completed the first winter ascent of Gasherbrum II. An 8,035 meter monster of a mountain in Pakistan. This came after 26 years of attempts from various international teams. During this near death climb, the team actually left behind a Garmin Chirp on the summit of Gasherbrum II. Richards is also currently a nominee for The 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of The Year. So click here to Vote for this deserving Extreme Garmin Ambassador.
G: What is your next major climb?
CR: I'll be working in Patagonia this winter, climbing and filming…and training on sight for Everest this coming spring. We are trying to repeat the American route on the West Ridge…should be fun. I'm looking forward to it. I haven't done Everest and I am excited to have the opportunity to do it via a route other than the standard South East ridge or North Ridge…just to get away from the crowd.G: What type of training will you do during the lead up to it?
CR: Lots of running, lots of climbing, and some Alpine Training Center workouts here in Boulder, Colorado for core strength…that will be in the month leading up to departure. The goal is to have my fitness level ready for any possible situation I may come across.
G: How does incorporating fitness monitoring aides like Garmin GPS
products/heart rate benefit climbers?
CR: It's really useful to know where your heart rate is when you're training to either ease back, or give more. It's also helpful to know where you are starting when you begin training so you can actually track your progression…meaning understanding your heart rate when you are out of shape, and watching the change as your body gains more and more fitness.
G: What data is useful to you for training and climbing?
CR: There is a lot. I mean, having heart rate data available during the training period is vital. While you are climbing it's something not so important, though it can be used to analyze the climb later. Elevation is obviously huge as well. Also, you guys make a lot of products outside of just heart rate monitors that are super useful for climbing i.e. altimeters, lightweight GPS and GPS and Two-Way Radio combination devices.
G: What does being a climber mean to you and what is the sport really all about?
CR: Climbing is accessible…and it's worth doing. It doesn't have to be 8000 meter peaks in winter or new routes in the Himalaya, but anything that you find fun…because just being there, in the mountains, is a moving and inspiring experience. It's important to share the possibility of engaging with our environment in a more intimate and profound way. Climbing is a vehicle for that. It's about experiencing ourselves in a very vulnerable and simultaneously empowering arena that allows us to understand ourselves just that much more…and it's a hell of a way to get a better view than the one from the office. My life is about travel and experience…but not everyone's can be…nor does everyone want that. Getting outside however is all it's about…leaving the city, leaving the phone, leaving the "ball and chain" on the desk, and having a tangible exchange with our natural environment...
Stay tuned for updates, as Cory prepares to conquer Mt. Everest for the first time this spring!