Finding Your Everest

Simone Moro

Story of optimism, tenacity, perseverance, humility, generosity and the inexistence of impossible.

Motivation, effort, dedication and passion are issues which are close to our hearts, both at work and life in general. However, they are tested by difficulties and uncertainties every single day. For an alpinist Everest is not simply a peak to reach, it’s reason to grow. Reason to aim to the top, across crevasses and sudden storms. Reason for moments of joy as well as discouragement and encounters. The story and philosophy of renowned alpinists, helicopter rescue pilot and humanitarian Simone Moro offers inspiration and encouragement for your expedition to find and conquest your own Mount Everest.

There are dozens of stories to be told about Simone Moro. One of the best known being the life threatening confrontation with Sherpas that made the headlines all over the world few years ago. You also might have heard about the rescue mission back in 2001, when Simone abandoned the chance to get to summit of Everest in order to search, rescue and save English alpinist Tom Moores. On his own, in the dark, with an extremely high risk of avalanche fall and without the use of oxygen. His bravery on the mountain later gained recognition from the likes of UNESCO and Italian president. Despite all the exciting stories from his great expeditions and adventures, I believe that the most important story to be told about Simone Moro is the story of how he thinks anything is possible. And how he has managed to prove it time after time.

Simone’s philosophy is that you should “never stop dreaming and attempting to achieve what is considered impossible”. Being a kid of a middle-class Italian family in the 60s, Simone grew up hoping to become the next Reinhold Messner. Driven by his dream of being alpinist, he started climbing at the tender age of 13. His family supported the pursuit of his distant dream, but also taught him the importance of having a toolbox to be used in case the dream didn’t come true. But it did, thanks to his passion to explore places only inhabited by the gods. Thanks to his passion, which has since taken him to the highest peaks on earth.

Simone Moro

27 years after Simone first started climbing Bergamo Alps in his home borough, an avalanche interrupted his first Annapurna expedition. The mountain took his climbing partners Anatolij Boukreev and Dimitri Sobolev leaving Simone all alone, severely injured and half-buried in the snow. Having lost all his equipment Simone started a long and dramatic descent without any guarantee of survival. Voice inside his head said that if he could only make it back to the base camp, he could be rescued. Although not being able to use his hands that were stripped to the bone and being able to see only with one eye, Simone proved that impossible is just the word we use to find an excuse why we are not able to do something. He was picked up by a helicopter from the camp the next day.

By refusing to believe in the concept of impossible Simone is constantly redefining the world. He is best known for his first winter ascents of three of the eight-thousanders: Shisha Pangma in 2005, Makalu in 2009 and Gasherbrum II in 2011. He is the only alpinist to have reached three 8000 metre peaks completely during the winter season. And more is yet to come. There still remains 8000 metre peaks that haven’t been climbed during winter and at the age of 48 Simone is still set to climb at least one of them.

In addition to being one of the most respected and successful alpinists in the world, Moro is also an experienced helicopter pilot specialized in search and rescue missions. When he realized his desire to become a rescue helicopter pilot in order to help others who share his love for the mountains, he became a commercial pilot in 69 days. That’s quicker than it normally takes just to fill out the required paper work. Financiers, insurance companies and pretty much everyone else didn’t believe in his mission to start providing professional search and rescue operations in the remote areas of Nepalese Himalayas. Once again, Simone proved the skeptics wrong and made it happen by carrying the financial risk by himself. Couple of years later, Moro and his team carried out the world’s highest long line rescue operation on a helicopter. They unselfishly pushed the boundaries of themselves and their aircraft in order to save a life of injured climber from 7800 meters on Everest – at an altitude their helicopter could not theoretically even reach. That’s another record that still remains unbroken.

Simone Moro

For Simone Moro impos­si­ble does not exist. His experiences and accomplishments during decades of expeditions as well as his drive, boundless energy, happiness and love for life act as a source of inspiration not only to mountaineers but anyone with hopes and dreams in life. But it would be foolish to think he would have been able fulfill his dreams one after another without great difficulties, sacrifices, and most of all hard work.

If you want to take a note, these are some of the ingredients of Simone’s recipe for success:

  • Although he doesn’t consider alpinism competitive sport, according to Simone every hour of training not executed is an extra hour given to your rival.  He takes his own advice quite seriously, as he runs half marathon every single day. Bad weather conditions do not prove to be a hurdle, as he sees the daily runs as tests for his motivation and determination.
  • Part of his preparation routine is to dream, study and organize projects beforehand.

  • Being a dad of two, time management is critical for Simone. I find it hard to take it as a joke, when he says that he tries to sleep quick as there is only 24 hours in a day.

  • Simone is all about team effort, as he has never enjoyed solitary alpinism. He remarks that, sharing the experience of failing and succeeding together gives much stronger and authentic emotions.

  • He values optimism, tenacity, perseverance, humility and generosity. And from my perspective his values show in everything he does.

Luckily Simone has strong desire to relive the unique emotions that he has experienced on his expeditions with others through public speaking, books and movies. There is a lot more to learn from him about finding and achieving something you are passionate about, something that motivates you, something that you are dedicated to and something that you are willing to make an extra effort for. Once you go out on your expedition to find and conquest your personal Everest, just remember to never stop dreaming and trying to achieve what’s considered impossible. No such thing exists, if you just believe in yourself.

I-VIEW the movie
Simone’s speech on Helsinki Adventure Night 2015

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