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Colin O’Brady Shatters The Explorers Grand Slam World Record: Ruminations On Risk, Limits, Fear & Giving Back

By June 26, 2016January 26th, 2024No Comments

“It’s about the ability to know yourself — to know your own personal limits and be inspired to push beyond those limits.”

Colin O’Brady

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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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

Selected Videos From Beyond 7/2

Notable People Discussed

Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy

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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