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  • Writer's pictureDeshun Bester

Back To BaseCamp

As the conclusion of another year approaches, it is natural to reflect on the past, take stock, and consider the future. Fortunately, there is a pleasant break for this kind of thinking. Those of you who have attended any Tackling The Summit® sessions will be aware of the "Back To Base Camp" analogy.

If you're not familiar with this analogy, let's unpack it quickly:

How to climb Everest

It surprises many people when I share that the approach to the summit of Mount Everest is not straightforward. Firstly, the average Everest expedition can to take up to two months to complete! During that time, teams have to haul masses of gear up the mountain. This helps to achieve three things:

a) to equip all the camps.

b) to acclimatise.

c) to increase mountain fitness.

During the acclimatisation process, climbers embark on gradual rotations up to each camp and return to Base Camp for rest and recovery.

It works something like this:

  1. Base Camp to Camp 1

  2. Camp 1 back to Base Camp

  3. Base Camp to Camp 2

  4. Camp 2 Back to Base Camp

  5. Base Camp to Camp 3

  6. Camp 3 back to Base Camp

  7. Base Camp to Camp 4

  8. Camp 4 to Summit

  9. Back to Base Camp

If you take a look at the amount of times a climber spends in Base Camp, you'll quickly realise that Base Camp moments are more frequent than time spent in the other camps. The truth about reaching a summit, is that you're likely to have a tiny fraction of your climbing time on the top, but much more time at the base of the mountain.

Why is Base Camp so important?

Did you know that it's very difficult to assess overall team performance while climbing the slopes of the mountain? While on the slopes, each climber has to focus on their individual and specific outcomes and needs. This individualised focus can be a small as navigating a crevasse or as hectic as rapid response to an oncoming avalanche. Under such circumstances, it's really tough to make decisions about the groups resources, approach and check on everyone's well being.

Base Camp is about 9 R's: Rest - Replenish - Recharge - Reset - Recover - Resource - Regroup - Recalibrate - Restart.

One cannot reach the summit without scheduling multiple rotations to Base Camp.

It is simply not possible to do all these R's without being in the relative safety of Base Camp.

Using Base Camp Strategically

To me this one is simple. If you get optimum rest and recovery, you can expect optimum performance.

As you and your team contemplate the various ways in which you can enjoy the coming weeks; take some time to acknowledge that rest is part of peak performance. How you replenish your energy is very personal. Some people prefer to be in a hammock with a book and others prefer physical activity. Whichever is best and provides the most effective recovery - go with it!

The final R is about Restarting, which we will chat about next month.

Have a lovely break and stay safe!

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