Your reason and
your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring
soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but
toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas. For
reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion,
unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of
passion, that it may sing; and let it direct your passion with
reason, that your passion may live through its own daily
resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.
Gibran, The Prophet
The road to
success leads through the valley of humility, and the path is up
the ladder of patience and across the wide barren plains of
perseverance. As yet, no short cut has ever been discovered.
- Joseph J.
PASSION and OBSESSION...
14, 1999: I was 25 years old, sitting in a tent at 25,600 feet
on Everest's North Ridge with my teammate Conrad Anker listening
to - and feeling - a gale force wind pummel the mountain around
me. Every few minutes, a freight train of Himalayan fury would
slam into us, flattening the sturdy tent walls...and us in the
continued for the better part of three days, pinning Conrad and
I and our other four teammates in the inhospitable Camp V. As
the hours ticked by - our food dwindling and tempers rising - I
found a familiar thought creeping into my head: Why on earth
do we do this to ourselves? I could be on the beach watching the
surf and drinking a daiquiri!
The answer, of
course, is passion. It is our passions in life which drive us
across daunting crevasses, pull us through hellacious storms,
push us through mental and physical fatigue and stress, and on
to our lofty summits. Without passion, I never would have found
the energy to keep on climbing after that storm subsided in
1999. My passion for climbing, for pushing my limits in the high
mountains, kept the flames of inspiration burning and enabled me
to climb higher, onward and upward toward my dream summit.
But, as Kahlil
Gibran noted in his work The Prophet, we must be careful
with our passions and be sure they are tempered by reason and, I
would add, a healthy dose of fear. For our passions, if left to
run free, can quickly make the dangerous transition to
obsession. And obsession in any of life's Everests leads to
In the mountains,
and on Mount Everest in particular, I have seen the results of a
passion turned to obsession all too often. On each of my five
Everest expeditions I have been involved in some sort of rescue
of climbers who pushed too far, broke their own rules, and paid
a hefty price for their actions. Sometimes, fortunately, the
rescue parties were able to save them. Other times, we were not.
Although each circumstance was different in detail, in essence
all of these rescues were the same: the climbers let their
passion overrun their reason and fear, and transition into
climber does not feel the burning in his lungs and the fatigue
in his legs, because all he can see is the summit of his
mountain. The obsessed climber does not see the setting sun, the
dwindling daylight, the storms rising from the valleys below,
and the threat of being benighted on the slopes of the world's
highest peak, for all she can see is the top of the world. When
we let our passion go unchecked, we can no longer reason and
decide we must turn around given the current circumstances,
weather, and so on. Once our passion overrides our fear, we no
longer react to the threat of frostbite, hypothermia, edema, or
even death, for our sole focus is on the end goal and no longer
on the process through which we realize that goal.
So, while we must
have passion in our lives to not only embark upon our summit
quests but to also get us through the storms and over the
crevasses which line our path, we must always keep that passion
tempered by reason and fear. If we do that, we will climb high
on all of our mountains in life, and return to tell the tales
and climb again another day.
it is that time of year again...The holiday season, the time of
giving and, yes, receiving! On that note, I'd like to do the
former and allow you to do the latter. I have put together a
screensaver of some of my favorite images from the Himalaya and
elsewhere and combined them with inspirational quotations from
various sources. The result, I think, is a fun way to dress up
your computer with inspiration to get you through the hard times
and tough days.
To download your
free copy, please go to the
FREE SCREENSAVER PAGE on my store website, follow the
instructions and download your gift from Jake Norton and
But, be sure to
hurry! This is only a holiday offer, and will soon be
THIS SCREENSAVER IS FOR WINDOWS SYSTEMS ONLY!
Jake and Spyder...
just signed on as a part of Spyder's team of renowned athletes,
joining the ranks with World Cup skiers Bode Miller, Daron
Rahlves, and Tommy Moe...Nice company to keep! I will help
Spyder by testing their outdoor gear in the harsh conditions I
endure on my expeditions, be it ice climbing in Ouray, crossing
South Georgia Island, or climbing on Everest. I will also work
as an ambassador for their product, which is an easy
task...Spyder has been known for years for creating the best ski
apparel available, and has easily made the transition to outdoor
market. Lightweight, high-tech, functional, and stylish, I am
proud to be wearing Spyder gear and to be a part of their team.
The store features
a fully searchable image database and direct online ordering
with payments made either by credit card, PayPal, or check. You
can browse my growing collection, send e-postcards of your
favorite images, order prints, download screensavers, and order
autographed copies of our expedition books Ghosts of Everest
(1999) and Detectives on Everest (2001).
I am constantly
adding more content, so check back often and let me know if you
have any questions!
I am often on
the road, traveling to speaking engagements, working as a
photographer on location, or leading expeditions for
International Mountain Guides.
During the first two weeks of January, 2006, I will be teaching
ice climbers in
Ouray, Colorado. This is a wonderful program run through
International Mountain Guides,
and I have been leading trips there since 1995.
·After guiding in
Ouray, I have a flurry of presentations to various clients in
Littleton and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
·On January 22nd, I
leave again for Tanzania to guide a group up
Mount Kilimanjaro and do a
safari afterwards. This is also an expedition for
International Mountain Guides.
·I'll be speaking at
Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque, New Mexico as the
kick-off speaker for the Dick Heath Lecture Series at Sandia. If
you are in the area, come on over!
Please visit my
page to see where he is off to next!
Jake Norton is a
professional speaker, photographer, climber, and guide from
Colorado. He delivers high-impact, multi-media motivational
presentations to audiences worldwide, inspiring them to set
lofty goals in life and giving them the tools to reach them.
this newsletter to other people who might find it helpful.
Have a question
about Jake Norton or MountainWorld Productions? Please contact
2002 Ford Street
Golden, CO 80401
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