Lessons I've learned climbing the Matterhorn
Last month, I took on a challenge of a lifetime. Alongside my dad, Darren, and Embello founder, Kyle Raffo, I scaled all 4,478m of the Matterhorn. It was a massive undertaking which took plenty of training, and I was grateful for the support of family, friends and colleagues. It was all for a good cause too, and so far we've successfully raised nearly £11,000 for Help Us Help Others (HUHO), a fantastic charity.
Today I wanted to talk about a slightly different aspect of the climb though. As a business owner, every day is a school day. I'm constantly learning new things that help to improve our service and ensure we're always aligning with our values. The Matterhorn climb was definitely a learning experience, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few of the lessons I learned before and during the expedition.
The importance of family
Life is all about experiences, and I think these experiences are even better when you share them with those closest to you.
I was lucky enough to experience the training for the climb, and the challenge itself alongside my dad, Darren. This was an absolutely amazing experience and stuff that many fathers and sons can only dream of. We were able to push each other when things were getting tough!
It wasn't just dad though, we couldn't have even attempted the climb without the support of my mum, wife and daughter. Seeing them waiting at the bottom of the mountain was one of the best feelings in the world.
How important it is to listen to the experts
One of the core values that we always look for here at Pure Cloud is accountability. Knowing your limits and trusting the experts is key. We really put this into practice on the Matterhorn.
The guides on the climb were fantastic. They know the mountain like the back of their hands, and provided some much-needed guidance about the safest routes. Without their help, the climb would have been far more precarious.
I think it was important to us to remember that this is what the guides do for a living. It's crucial that we take a step back, stop comparing our skills to theirs, and instead focus on learning from them! It ended up being a great opportunity to learn some new personal skills. I'm sure if they needed some advice about business technology, they'd ask the experts too!
Preparation is everything
We knew the challenge was going to be incredibly tough, so how we prepared was key to our success. We had to complete rigorous training climbs, walks and gym sessions as well as watching what we ate. Many of the training sessions were very tough, and had to be undertaken in terrible weather, which was not exactly enjoyable.
It was a careful balancing act to ensure we got the correct amount of training in, while also ensuring things keep running smoothly over at Pure Cloud.
The amazing generosity of the business community
When we started the challenge we always had a charitable goal in mind. The work the team at HUHO do is absolutely brilliant, and we were more than happy to support them during the challenge.
We set our target donation goal high, and so far have raised £11,000 out of our £30,000 goal. To raise this much considering the energy and cost of living crisis is incredible, and I'd like to say a huge thank you to our friends, family, customers, suppliers and partners that have helped us to reach this milestone.
I'd like to say an extra special thank you to the flag sponsors. I'm so glad that the flag made it to the summit, and it now sits proudly in our office!
It's crucial to be ready for anything
While we did train extensively for the challenge, there were some things you just couldn't prepare for.
The altitude during the climb was the big one! It had a huge impact on our performance and recovery after the climb - at one point I was genuinely concerned that it would be a one-way trip!
I spent the first 45 minutes of the climb questioning whether or not I had the capability to do it. I'm not sure why - probably a mixture of nerves, lack of sleep and exertion, but I couldn't regulate my breathing, which was making me doubt myself and my ability. I took my time, focused my mind and overcame the issues. I felt good after that and summited in 3 hours and 45 minutes.
How to better process the ups and downs
When I finally summited, I somehow had 5G connectivity at almost 4500m and was able to let the family know straight away. At this point I saw messages from my dad confirming that he had made the difficult, yet right decision to turn back at roughly 4300m for his own safety. I found this incredibly tough to take, as we should have been able to share the moment together!
However, after a brief bout of tears I had to compose myself and mentally prepare for the descent which took around 4 hours. When I finally got back to the hut I was physically, mentally and emotionally drained, but I had to pull it together as I had a two-hour hike down to the gondola!
The climb was one of the greatest challenges of my life. It was a huge learning experience and an unforgettable one at that. It's worth mentioning that our JustGiving link is open until the end of December. If you haven't already donated, please consider doing so!