Entrepreneur vs. Everest
Scaling life’s mountains has taken on a new meaning for richard Walker, an EO UK-London member on a philanthropy-fueled journey to Mount Everest. Nicholas Thomas, Octane’s Editor, sat down with the mountaineer to talk about his upcoming expedition.
What inspired you to climb Mount everest?
“It all started with my father. a year ago, he mentioned that the famous explorer, david hempleman adams, had invited him on a trip to Everest. Well, if he was going, there was no way I wasn’t! The opportunity was just too good to pass up.”
What do you hope to accomplish with this expedition?
“Because we are novice climbers with limited experience, my father and I have personally set ourselves the responsible target of reaching the north Col at 7,020 meters (23,031 feet). We’ll see how we get on. The expedition’s target is clear: raise £1 million for a research programme into early onset alzheimer’s. Professionally, I just hope the business is Ok without me!”
How has being an entrepreneur prepared you for being a mountaineer?
“I think the two things are absolutely linked. for starters, to want to do an expedition like this, you have to be slightly odd … and most entrepreneurs I know are pretty unusual people! On a more practical level, qualities such as self-belief, preparation, commitment and focus are all essential for such a long and arduous expedition. I have learned these assets from being an entrepreneur. It’s all about dreaming big or attempting the ‘impossible’ ... this is a great example of that.”
What do you think this journey will teach you?
“Everest is above all a mental challenge. Physical fitness is essential, of course, but the real challenge comes from being on the mountain for two months at extreme temperatures and altitude; feeling continually like rubbish, but keeping positive. It is a good test of determination and will, but you also have to be disciplined with yourself— listen to your body and know when to turn around. That is the true test of character.”
Is philanthropy an integral part of the entrepreneurial experience?
“Yes, it is. The businesses that entrepreneurs create provide employment and taxes, which are both good for society. but we should also remember that a true entrepreneur looks further than that and realizes that through their activities, they have the power to change the world. all of us have had lucky breaks along the way, and who knows where we’d be if we didn’t get them? We must never forget those less fortunate or in need of help.”
Richard Walker successfully completed his journey in May 2011, a month after this interview took place. To see how his Everest expedition went, visit