“It’s about the ability to know yourself — to know your own personal limits and be inspired to push beyond those limits.”
In documented history, only 44 people have successfully completed the extraordinary feat of adventure athleticism known as the Explorers Grand Slam — a challenge that encompasses scaling the highest mountain on each of the seven continents and treks to both the North and South Poles. Of these 44, only 2 have done it under a year.
Not only is today’s guest the youngest person to conquer this most prestigious undertaking, Colin O’Brady absolutely smashed the world record by an incredible 53-day margin, completing the EGS in a mere 139 days. Along the way, he simultaneously broke the 7 Summits world record by two days.
A Yale grad turned professional triathlete and Olympic hopeful, Colin is one very impressive young man. But perhaps more admirable than his mind boggling achievements is Colin’s commitment to service by way of his non-profit organization Beyond 7/2 – a directed mission to combat childhood obesity by raising $1 million on behalf of the Alliance For A Healthier Generation, a non-profit founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation dedicated to helping kids to develop healthy habits.
If you are relatively new to the podcast, it’s worth noting that Colin and I sat down this past December on the eve of his world record attempt. In case you missed it, RRP 207 is great conversation about his unique upbringing on a commune, his experiences swimming for Yale, how he survived an almost lethal burn accident that left him unlikely to walk again, his phoenix like transformation into a professional ITU triathlete and Olympic hopeful, and how he morphed into a mountaineer with the audacity to attempt such an incomprehensible feat of adventure athleticism.
Picking up where we left off, this conversation recounts the highs and lows of Colin’s extraordinary accomplishment. It’s a conversation about the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fortitude required to push beyond the ceiling of perceived ability. It’s a conversation about facing and overcoming obstacles. It’s about life and death decisions. Risk. Limits. Fear. It’s about the indomitable nature of the human spirit to overcome and persevere. And its about the importance of giving back.
Specific topics include:
- completing The Explorer’s Grand Slam in world-record time
- conquering Everest after the North Pole
- sharing Colin’s experiences through social media
- severe frostbite and the risks of amputation
- attempting fastest ascent of the 7 Summits
- rational fatalism & objectivity
- 10,000 hours of deliberate practice
- navigating risk & fear
It was an honor to spend a couple hours with this extraordinary human. My hope is that this conversation will help you question your own internal limiters and confront you with the very real truth that we are all capable of so much more than we allow ourselves to believe.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.
Peace + Plants,
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Connect With Colin O’Brady
The BEYOND 7/2 Challenge:
- South Pole (Antarctica)
- Mt. Vinson (Antarctica)
- Aconcagua (South America)
- Carstensz (Australasia)
- Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa)
- Mt. Elbrus (Europe)
- North Pole (Arctic Ocean)
- Mt. Everest (Asia)
- Denali (North America)
Background, Context & Reference
- MensJournal: The Behind-The-Scenes Drama on Climber Colin O’Brady’s Record-Shattering Expedition
- MensJournal: Colin O’Brady Completes Everest, Makes His Final Push to Denali by Jayme Moye
- MensJournal: Everest 2016: 7 Climbers On Their Biggest Challenges
- Today: Elite mountain climber Colin O’Brady fights childhood obesity by Rheana Murray
- Parade: Colin O’Brady Climbs The Highest Mountains To Tackle Childhood Obesity
- KATU: Seven summits, two poles: Portland endurance athlete Colin O’Brady sets new world record by Stuart Tomlinson
- HuffPost: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: A Conversation with Colin O’Brady by Mike Ragogna
- FOX: Adventurer Colin O’Brady on climbing world’s seven summits, breaking two world records by Kelly Taylor
- People: 7 Summits, 2 Poles: Mountaineer Colin O’Brady on Track to Shatter World Record in Epic Adventure by Johnny Dodd
- WashingtonPost: Six months, seven mountains, two poles — and the pursuit of one record by Rick Maese
- CBSNews: Setting An Epic World Record
- GoodDayLA: Colin O’Brady on Climbing World’s Seven Summits, Breaking Two World Records
- OregonLive: Portland Endurance Athlete Brings Home 2 World Records, Makes Us All Look Lazy
- Reddit AMA: I am Colin O’Brady – pro endurance athlete at Everest Base Camp – AMA!
Selected Videos From Beyond 7/2
- Marianna Brady’s YouTube Channel
- The Beyond 7/2 Journey
- Beyond 7/2: 5 Down, 5 To Go!
- Mt. Elbrus Summit Day
- Colin O’Brady’s Journey To The Summit of Mt. Everest
- Denali Summit
- Snowstorm at 14,000 feet on Denali
- Denali Blog – May 25
- Colin O’Brady on the Summit of Mt. Everest – May 19, 2016
- Everest – May 14 Everest Summit Attempt Called Off
- Leaving For the Everest Summit Push in the A.M.
- Leaving Base Camp for the Everest Summit Push
- Climbing the Lhotse Face on Everest
- Everest Video Blog – 4/27
- Last Degree Ski to the North Pole
Notable People Discussed
- Richard Parks: former Wales international rugby union player turned extreme environmental athlete
- Jenna Besaw: Executive Director of Beyond 7/2 and Colin’s fiancée
- Marianna Brady: Media Director of Beyond 7/2
- Guy Cotter: American mountaineer and CEO of Adventure Consultants
- Russell Brice: New Zealand mountain climber and owner of Himalayan Experience Ltd
- Vern Tejas: American mountaineer and former record-holder for fastest ascent of the Seven Summits
- Alex Honnold: American rock climber best known for his free solo ascents of big walls
- Malcom Gladwell: English-born Canadian journalist, bestselling author, and speaker
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #067: Charlie Engle on Running the Sahara
- RRP #113: David Clark: From Alcoholic to Badwater
- RRP #115: Dean Karnazes: To Struggle Is To Be Alive
- RRP #149: The Iron Cowboy’s Assault On The Impossible
- RRP #166: James “Iron Cowboy” Lawrence, How He Completed 50 Ironmans In 50 States In 50 Days
- RRP #170: Conrad Anker On Suffering, Risk, Reward & The Allure Of Meru
- RRP #207: Colin O’Brady’s Attempt On The Explorers Grand Slam World Record
- RRP #231: “The Iceman” Wim Hof On Why Breath Is Life, Cold Is God & Feeling Is Understanding
Thanks to Jason Camiolo for production, interstitial music and audio engineering; Chris Swan for production assistance & show notes; Shawn Patterson for graphics; and Hari Mathis for the new theme music! Let me know what you think of the new theme on twitter or facebook.
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