Just keep going by Angela Podmore

Western Cwm

Business is just like climbing Everest

Doug Scott – what a man. Such a powerful reputation in the best way – quietly so.

This is the man who has climbed all seven summits – the highest point on each continent. When he started with the Atlas, his entire six-week trip cost only £21 per expedition member.

We saw him at Malvern this week. He inspired me on several fronts:

• Scott’s 28 pints test – if you’re still coherent after 28 pints, it’s a pretty accurate indication of how you’ll fare at altitude. Apparently Don Whillans, another climbing legend, after downing his 28th pint was asked why he drank so heartily to which he replied, “I’ve a morbid fear of dehydration.” Don’t you find that it’s exactly that sort of wit which keeps you going when the going gets tough. Call me on 07786 934 935 to find out the one that kept me going on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks (unpublishable) – John Wilson at Free Range Heads told it.

• Higher goals – anyone who has reached Everest’s summit, returns Scott said. He felt “something bigger than me was going on up there”. I’ve read that those who return from the moon all come back changed – either with a thirst for religious or another spiritual dimension. Unsurprisingly, being on top of the world or looking back at the world are similar peak experiences.

• His wisdom – generally you find where people have more time on their hands, the warmer their welcome. He found the people of Afghanistan amazing.

My favourite wisdom was ‘how to climb a mountain’: ‘You just keep putting one foot in front of another, keep going, dealing with the uncertainty, no talk of turning back or giving up.” What a great business metaphor.

And that’s why his picture of the Western Cwm hangs opposite my desk at home.


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