Brian Dickinson - Reader Blog 1

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3/28/11 - What possesses someone to climb the highest mountain on the 7 continents? My view has changed over the past 3 years as I've climbed Mt. Mckinley in Alaska, Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mt. Elbrus in Russia. Early on I was driven to climb as a part of my compulsively ambitious goal-setting curse. But along the grueling journey of carrying 50 lb. packs on multiple Pacific Northwest training climbs and visiting underserved children in Tanzania, I've transformed from taker to giver.

Years ago in the US Navy, I would leave for months at a time to fly worldwide search and rescue missions around the aircraft carrier USS Constellation. What seemed like a tough, emotional and stressful job at the time is small compared to having to leave my wife, JoAnna, and children, Emily (7) and Jordan (4) for 2 months. Now a week and a half away from embarking on the highest climb possible, Mt. Everest, I'm going through the fight or flight response emotions.

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In 2 weeks I'll be in Kathmandu where I'll visit the Early Childhood Development Center to deliver toys. With Cisco Systems help I'll also be holding one of the largest multi-country learning events of it's type. We'll have children joining a live HD video event from various parts of the world and conduct a science project; making harmonicas from popsicle sticks! What's great is my wife and children plus some friends will be able to participate in the event from our Bellevue office.

Then the real journey begins of climbing the South Col of Mt. Everest! I'll be helping lead a group of Mountain Guru's Everest Base Camp trekkers in and then doing an acclimatization climb on Island Peak. From there I'll begin heading up through the Khumbu Icefall and toward the South Col. With the help of Cisco technologies and NCELL's 3G network, I'll have the capability of updating this blog and communicating with my family on a regular basis. Honestly without this type of technology it would have been somewhere between difficult and impossible to be away from my family for this amount of time. Although the anticipation of leaving has been tough, I know the trip will go fast and, like anything, be a blur when looking back.

Many people ask if I'm nervous or scared of climbing Mt. Everest. Short and long answer is no. I'm fit and confident in my climbing, but some things like weather and altitude issues are out of my control. It'll be an exciting life experience either way.

This next week I'll be filling in the logistical gaps, coordinating multiple events, testing technologies and most importantly spending quality time with my family!

Additional information on my venture: http://sponsor7summits.com

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