The staff here at Max Borges Agency takes on a badass approach to how we successfully run our business, but we also take that same attitude outside the office. Here, we don’t believe in just skirting by. We take the bull by the horns in all aspects of life. With that in mind, we thought we’d give you a glimpse into just what we do to go that extra mile, in and out of the office. So we bring to you a new series on the blog: The MBA Badass Award. The first two recipients of the award to go Greg Mondshein vice president, business development and Corrado Amenta, director of operations. Their (latest) accomplishment: completing the arduous trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. With an elevation of 19,341 feet and a total trip time of eight days—six of which were climbing to the top—this was no easy feat. So we sat down with our two badasses to get some insight into what the experience was like.
Corrado Amenta: I like stepping out of my comfort zone and know I am happiest when I am learning and growing. I am not a big workout/active kind of guy and can’t get myself to work out just for the sake of working out. I need a clear goal that I can deconstruct and measure against myself. Getting to the top of Kili by February 2014 was that clear goal. Greg Mondshein: I’ve learned these types of trips do massive things for my confidence and ability to persevere. If you can deal with eight days on a mountain in the cold and the high altitude, normal life stuff seems simple.
How intense was the training? How many months out did you start?
CA: Training was not as hard as I imagined it would be. They mostly consisted of lots of stair workouts and ten-plus mile walking days with loaded packs through mountain bike trails to simulate the terrain. GM: We also did some oxygenation training with a device that trained our bodies to get used to the limited oxygen levels you experience at such a high altitude. Basically, we suffocated ourselves for an hour a day for a month leading up to the climb. Not enjoyable.
CA: Summit day is definitely the toughest. The night before summit we slept at 15,000 feet of elevation. At that altitude, the slightest movement made us feel like we had just ran a marathon. We woke up at 11 p.m., got dressed and were on our way by midnight. Temperatures were in the high teens to low 20s; it was all very dark and extremely windy. We reached the summit (19,341 feet) by 7 a.m. GM: During the last climbing day, our bottles and water bladders froze and I eventually got frost nip—the early stages of frostbite—on my big toe. We hiked for an hour, then rested. Hiked 45 minutes, then rested. Hiked 30 minutes, then rested. This went on until our climbing times dropped to 5–10 minute spurts.
Describe how you felt once you reached the top.
CA: Emotional and surreal. I felt a rush of different and contradicting emotions hitting me like a freight train. I felt invincible yet emotionally and physically drained like I’ve never been. GM: Exhaustion. Relief. Accomplishment. It was pretty overwhelming. There was also an intense desire to get down as quickly as I could. The faster I got back down, the faster I could breathe again!
Would you do it again?
CA: I don’t think so. Part of the challenge was facing the unknown and pushing myself beyond my limits. With that said, Greg and I have already started playing around with the idea of picking another summit to conquer. GM: Probably, but it would have to be with a good buddy that just had to do it. I’d prefer to find another adventure and tackle that one!
Congratulations on such an amazing accomplishment!