Presentation Synopsis

Reaching the summit of a difficult mountain is an extreme problem-solving challenge. A group of climbers must work together so that every action brings them closer to their goal without wasted effort. They must work with limited resources and within inflexible time constraints. By weaving together each member's talents and energies, a series of psychological, logistical, and physical barriers must be overcome. The successful team will consist of highly motivated individuals prepared for tremendous personal challenge while maintaining the ability to work within the group. What makes difficult mountaineering unique is the degree of commitment, individually and as a team. At some point there is a line each climber must cross from which there is no certain return. To achieve success he must accept the risk and act upon the best information available with the knowledge that a mistake could have catastrophic results for himself and others.

In this presentation, striking color photography from the first ascent of Mount Everest's East Face in Tibet offers a unique way of illustrating the balance between personal goals and team process. Goal pursuit and the personal challenge of finding and following one's individual path to excellence are discussed within the context of mountaineering where success and survival are based on teamwork.

Topics will include:

A. Individual Motivation
Embarking on a dream. Maintaining a positive attitude. Committing to go the distance. Believing in one's own abilities.

B. Plan Development
Background preparation. Finding new solutions to old problems. Flexibility in changing environments. Avoiding a one track mind set. Risk taking and avoiding risk.

C. Achievement in Teams
Team selection. Working efficiently with individual differences. Maintaining unity of purpose.

D. Leadership Roles
Decision making with limited information. Accepting responsibility. Sustaining team momentum.