My son, Manley version 3.0, was 8 years old when he looked up at me with an intense focus. I assumed he was just trying to figure out if I was okay because I did look haggard. I had just completed a self-rescue of my injured partner and myself after living on El Capitan for 5 days in 2008.
“Dad, I want to climb a big wall with you. I want to live on the wall with you just like Rich did!”
I thought he might forget about this dream, but every year he would bring it up, and I would put it off. I wasn’t sure when he or I would be ready for such an endeavor.
As his high school graduation date approached, Manley called me on my standing offer for a Dad-Son celebration trip when he completed high school. The day after his high school graduation, we committed to chasing down his dream, and our epic adventure began.
Within a few days, we found ourselves in Yosemite, California. It was May, but it might have well been January. The weather was awful.
After realizing our intended climb was not possible due to the weather, we opened our minds to declaring a different route on a different wall that might be more sheltered from the daily snow and sleet storms that were making their way through the Valley. Manley showed great patience and flexibility.
“I just want to climb something big with you, Dad. I don’t care what it is.”
We gathered our gear, checked with my local expert resources, and approached our climb on Sunday evening, getting our supplies in place and sleeping 400 feet off the ground for our first night in the Vertical.
The next morning we officially launched, committing to the extremely steep and strenuous West Face route on the Leaning Tower, a beautiful feature just right of Bridalveil Falls. Our vertical path would carry us through more than one thousand vertical feet.
It was no race, so we set a slow but steady pace that we felt would ensure our safety. It was a monumental physical and mental effort for us both, but we had a secret weapon. It was the way my son showed up from start to finish.
From the planning to all the work and suffering, we pushed through. We endured a total of 4 days and 4 nights to reach our summit and descend from the sky back to terra firma.
The entire time, my man was ultra-present and unconditionally supported me with quiet courage and confidence. There is no way I could have done that route without his belief in me.
Check out this video of our epic adventure that my son Manley created:
Know this. How you show up matters.
Maybe you are the one leading the effort on the edge of your intimidating mountain of life and business. Or perhaps you are supporting the person who is stepping up and into the exposure. Know that how you show up can be incredibly encouraging, or cast shadows of doubt on the path.
Pick one person today and encourage them in your own authentic way. Whether that person is someone you work for or with, or who supports you, let them know how they show up matters.
Please share your response via social media, or you can email me direct if you want to share privately.
Want to learn more about how to anchor your actions and climb to excellence? Check out these blog posts!
To learn more about my 9 Vertical Lessons for Leading with Impact check out my book Reaching Your Next Summit!
Your climb to excellence is never easy. The human drive within calls us to what is possible.
The principles shared in this book will renew your commitment and inspire your quest for excellence. You will realize more of your potential as you sharpen your focus, act with courage, and generate momentum in reaching your next summit—and beyond.