Experiences / Culture – September 7, 2016

Resident Spotlight: Dan A., The Paramount

Paramount resident Dan, climbed Mount Everest and trained at The Paramount! We met up with him to talk about his journey and what he missed most about home in San Francisco.

The Related Life:
You climbed Mount Everest, can you tell us about your journey?
Dan:
My dream of climbing Everest began roughly seven year ago when my younger brother challenged me to climb Sweden’s highest mountain with him, a staggering 7,000ft peak! At the time I wasn’t in great shape and had no prior climbing experience so the challenge was quite daunting for me, but I eventually decided to accept. Unfortunately we never made it quite to the summit of Sweden’s highest mountain as we got caught in a blizzard, however the experience changed me and I wanted more.

About two years after climbing my first mountain and accumulating additional mountaineering experience I began toying with the idea of Mt. Everest. I’ll admit at the time it was more of a dream than something I took seriously myself, let alone anyone else. The thought of Everest wouldn’t go away and after months of pondering I finally decided to put a plan together for how I would get there.

Over the next five years I stuck to the plan which involved climbing various mountains around the world to gain the necessary experience as well as develop a detailed training regimen that would be needed for Everest. Many residents and building staff will recall all the times they either saw me walking up and down the stairwell (something I did 10 times once a week with a loaded pack) or standing in the elevator on the way down dripping wet with a backpack.

In February 2016 I left the Paramount to embark on my adventure to Nepal. The climb itself was challenging physically, but especially challenging from a mental perspective. For the six to eight weeks you spend on the mountain you are constantly reminded of the dangers that lurk behind every corner in the form of avalanches, rock slides and rescue helicopters picking people off the mountain. Adding to this, the summit window as we call it is limited to 10 days or less every year. This means that you need to be in peak physical condition once this 10 day weather window hits and cannot afford to be sick or injured once this window opens.

Fortunately for me I remained healthy and strong throughout the expedition and on May 14th at 5:47AM local time I stood on top of the world. My stay at the summit only lasted for 34 minutes as it was extremely cold and I felt like I was going to freeze to death.

Having been back now for a few months and having had a chance to reflect over the experience I’ve concluded that the challenge of climbing Mt. Everest is not so much about the final summit day, but about the journey. It’s a journey that begins years earlier and requires a commitment bordering on obsession. For many, Everest means sacrificing social relationships during training, mortgaging the house and lastly spending six to eight weeks in some very challenging environments.

Many people have asked me was it worth it? For me Everest was a way of testing my own boundaries and proving to myself that something that I once thought would be impossible is in fact possible. I’ve grown stronger as an individual and am happy that I accepted the challenge.
The Related Life:
Wow! Any travel essentials?
Dan:
Passport, credit cards and the number for my medical and security evacuation service
The Related Life:
Anything else you learned during your travels?
Dan:
Never take no for an answer when dealing with airlines. A no simply means there’s room for negotiation.
The Related Life:
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Dan:
I’m inclined to say climbing Everest, but I’d be lying. Biggest challenge is probably understanding women and succeeding at online dating.
The Related Life:
What’s your go-to workout?
Dan:
As much as I enjoyed the Paramount stairwell, all 400+ floors every week I will probably have to say that running is my go to workout.
The Related Life:
Have you always been an adventurous person?
Dan:
I have definitely not always been an adventurous person, on the contrary I would regularly back down from a challenge where the odds of me succeeding were not in my favor. Today I am of the belief that if we are to grow as human beings we have to accept the risk of failure.
The Related Life:
If you could move anywhere else in the Related portfolio, where would you go?
Dan:
Related has some beautiful properties in NYC that I know of. I’m sure there are other great buildings in other cities, but I used to live in NY so am familiar with the Related buildings there.
The Related Life:
Now that we're familiar with your Mount Everest story, what’s your dream vacation?
Dan:
Shockingly it does not involve snow, ice and mountains... my dream vacation to to go to Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean.
The Related Life:
What’s a sport you haven’t tried yet that you’d like to tackle?
Dan:
Fencing, Falconry and Formula One
The Related Life:
And since you've traveled quite a bit, any tips for jet lag?
Dan:
Don’t go to bed before 9PM in your arrival destination unless you arrive early enough that you can take a nap and still be up by 4PM.
The Related Life:
What did you miss most about Related Rentals while you were away?
Dan:
My bed, shower with endless hot water and a flushing toilet.
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