• Murderball: Two Longtime Friends Face Rockfall and Sudden Injury
  • Devil's Delight: Devils Head is Colorado's Treasure
  • Living With A Very Serious Climber
  • The Rock Rambo: A "Tough Mudder" For Climbers
  • The Pirate: Adventures with Ammon McNeely
  • Call of the Wild: America's Hardest Crag - Wolf Point - Is Just a Vision
  • Berni's Tips for the Climbing Road Trip
  • What I've Learned: Heinz Mariacher
  • The Sasha DiGiulian Profile
  • What I've Learned: Chris Sharma
  • Durango Unchained
  • Tipping Point on Everest
  • Tales of Sickness: Pro Climbing is Neither
  • Climbing Deal Breakers
  • Alex Honnold's First Ascent in Memory of Todd Skinner
  • The Seeker: Said Belhaj
  • The Art of Losing
  • Tommy Caldwell: What I've Learned
  • Dave Graham: Looking Backward
  • To the Death: Inside Catalunya and Ridiculously Hard Sport Climbing
  • The Definitive Charlie Porter Profile & Interview
  • Sonnie Trotter's Favorite 5.10: Exasperator (5.10c)
  • Unbroken: The Alex Johnson Profile
  • What I've Learned: John Bachar's Last Interview
  • Bishop Bound: The Boulders and Beyond
  • The Eiger the Hard Way: Britain's Boldest Take on the North Face
  • Royal Robbins on the First Ascent of the North American Wall
  • Perfect Play: What It Took to Climb La Dura Dura (5.15c)--The World's Hardest Route
  • TNB: The Only Blasphemy
  • TNB: Chasing the Devil's Snort
  • Return to Yosemite
  • TNB: What's the Problem?
  • To the Rescue
  • The Midwest Mindset
  • Point Break: Fight Over Fixed Draws
  • Soul Rising: In Pursuit of the South's Most Excellent 5.9s
  • TNB: The Jungle
  • Comic Relief
  • Shoot Like Simon Carter
  • TNB: The Hurt Locker
  • TNB: Eating People and the Real Seventh Summit
  • Rock Climbing Nutrition: Power Your Climbing With Whole Foods
  • What's Supp?
  • TURKISH DELIGHT
  • Top Digs
  • THE YEAR THAT WENT SOUTH
  • The Upstart
  • The Stone Garden
  • The Hard Way
  • THE GOLDEN AGE
  • The Eyes Have It
  • The Bond
  • The Better Half
  • Talk is Cheap
  • Ray's Roof Solo
  • Melt Down
  • Making The Grade
  • Landscaping
  • Jimmie Dunn
  • Is Mixed Climbing Legitimite?
  • In the Land of Myths
  • Getting High and Feeling Good
  • Generational Shift
  • G.I. YO!
  • Freaky Folklore
  • Empire Blocks
  • Divine Wind
  • Dave MacLeod versus Dave Birkett
  • Climbing Jobs, Benefits and Salaries
  • Climbing Jobs
  • Clever Levers
  • TNB: Chris Sharma and The Art of Jeep Maintenance
  • Charlie Fowler American Alpinist
  • Bastard Child
  • Avoiding Arthritis
  • Arco Climbing Comp, the Face of 2010
  • TNB: American Dirtbag
  • Murder At Cho Oyu
  • Tom Frost and Yosemite's Lost Climbing Photos
  • Moving Over Stone
  • Disco Dance Party on the Blob
  • Video Spotlight
    Margo Hayes Sends La Rambla (9a+/5.15a)
    Margo Hayes Sends La Rambla (9a+/5.15a)



    What I've Learned: Mark Udall

    07-Oct-2014
    By

    Udall on the <em>Cassin Ridge</em>MARK UDALL

    64, MOUNTAINEER AND U.S. SENATOR.

    ELDORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO


    I’ve climbed Kangchenjunga in the Himalayas, the Cassin Ridge on Denali, Aconcagua via the Messner, and made it 26,000 feet up the White Limbo on Everest before a storm forced us to turn back. And I just met one of my biggest climbing goals this August—summiting Dallas Peak with my wife, Maggie—[to finish] the 100 highest peaks in Colorado, “the Colorado Centennials.”

    MY GREATEST CLIMBING CHALLENGE also brought the greatest reward. Our journey up Kangchenjunga took three months, and I was the only member of our team to reach the summit. Those final 2,000 feet took me 26 hours, alone and without rest. Reaching the summit was a high point, in every sense of the word.

    THE OUTDOORS has played a central role in shaping how I see the world, and a lot of that is thanks to my mother. She was a member of the NRA, a sharpshooter, a pilot, an angler and an equestrian. She was a native Coloradan and the one who lit the spark.

    AS A YOUNGER MAN, I lived and worked in the mountains as the head of Colorado Outward Bound. That job—running a non-profit business that taught leadership and risk-taking—showed me a thing or two about the importance of innovation, entrepreneurship and teamwork.

    MY PRIORITIES in the senate start and end with protecting Coloradans’ special way of life. That includes safeguarding our wilderness. We don’t inherit these special places from our parents, we borrow them from our children. That focus on our future is also why I have championed fiscal responsibility, a tough, but smart, national security policy, and zealously guarded our privacy rights.

    MAKING PROGRESS in congress is a lot like climbing a 14er. Balance is key. For example, we can’t spend our way to prosperity, but we can’t cut our way there either. It’s also essential to keep your eye on the summit, not on scoring political points. You can’t schmooze your way up a mountain. It’s what you do that creates results. Persistence pays off—when your team or the nation’s security is on the line, giving up isn’t an option.

    POLITICS IS A CONTACT sport. No matter how good you are, you’re still going to get hit. It helps to have a great sense of humor and perspective. Climbing helps me maintain that perspective.

    AT OUTWARD BOUND, on the side of a mountain or in Congress, I learned that the three rules of mountaineering apply: It’s always farther than it looks, it’s always harder than it looks and it’s always taller than it looks. 

    WHO YOU BRING with you to face these challenges is just as important as what—your experiences and skills. Working and recreating in Colorado’s scenic backcountry have shown me how the best leaders build teams that reflect their purpose and round out their own experiences. The strongest leaders build diverse organizations that debate ideas and ultimately come to better solutions. 

    NO ONE PARTY or perspective has a monopoly on good ideas. And no one person has all the answers. True leadership is a team sport, and the best leaders are talented listeners. 

    WHEN YOU ALL WORK together, you don’t cut one another loose just because it’s difficult or someone is having a bad day. The same ought to be true in Washington. 

    THE LESSONS Mother Nature has taught me on the mountain have resonated with me in Congress and on the campaign trail. First: You don’t climb a mountain by accident. You must prepare and plan ahead. You also have to expect the unexpected.

    SECOND, you have to be both fiercely individualistic with your skill, preparation and fitness, but equally willing to harness that individualistic drive to the team goal. This is especially true in the Senate, where bipartisanship is the name of the game for getting things done.

    YOU HAVE TO BE A generalist in life and equipped to climb on all surfaces, read people, navigate routes, cook a passable meal, fix broken gear and be a team player, to boot.

    THERE WILL BE HARDSHIP along the path to success. To make it through the challenges that are sure to come in finding a job, learning your passion and implementing your plan, you must be willing to see the virtue in facing adversity. 

    IF ALL POLITICIANS CLIMBED mountains, Washington might be better at moving our country forward.

    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article:
    Hello