Go Out and Make it Happen - Olin Senior Summits Mt. Everest

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Rob Sobecki salutes his colleagues at Olin College

On May 20, 2012, Rob Sobecki ('13)
accomplished his goal of summiting Mt. Everest, a truly remarkable feat. There
are some experiences that are hard to put into words, and climbing Mt. Everest certainly
falls under that category. Having been given the task of taking that a level
deeper and putting into words what another person had a hard time putting into
words... this blog post is probably my most challenging yet. :)

I was really curious as to how one
goes about preparing for something as daunting as climbing Mt. Everest. Rob has
been climbing since he was fifteen, and in order to prepare for his Everest climb,
he had been training for about 12-20 hours per week since July of 2011. His
training consisted mostly of cardio training, weight lifting, and climbing on
the stair master with weights - skills he would need during his climb. While
it's important to be in shape and prepared physically, I got the impression
that in the long run what's also extremely important is one's ability to make
the right decisions when facing challenges on the mountain. By developing
skills through his prior climbing experiences, Rob was confident that he would
be able to avoid making costly mistakes during his climb.

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Rob climbed Mt. Everest from the
south side, a process which took around two months. After the initial 10 day
trek to base camp, Rob and his team spent time hiking progressively higher up
the mountain and then coming back to base camp to rest. This allowed their
bodies to get used to the low oxygen environment and undergo the physiological
changes one experiences at such high altitudes. The process of acclimatization
as they traveled from camp to camp was crucial. Objective hazards such as
avalanches and ice falls were potential threats throughout the entire journey. Despite
the preparation, it is still extremely difficult at high camp beyond an
altitude of 26,400 feet - an area considered to be the "death zone." The peak
of Mt. Everest is at 29,035ft and summiting presents many dangers.

Because of bad weather conditions,
climbers were only able to summit Mt. Everest on four different days this past
season, and Rob was among the few who made it to the top.

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 A photo taken by Rob was featured
on a
recent article about the previous year's
climbing conditions at Mt. Everest. Rob's also kept a
blog
during his journey, and he and his father had a
website
accepting donations. All the proceeds went towards ending childhood
malnutrition.

As Rob reflects upon his journey,
he comments, "It took a big leap of faith to take the year off of school, but
what I am most proud of is that I went for it and did not let the roadblocks
that came up get in the way of me accomplishing my dream."

His advice for other Olin
students?  "I challenge all of you to
find out what it is you're passionate about, and go out and make it happen."

- Written by Ariana Chae '15

Posted in: A Broader World View, Because I Wanted To