“Standing on a summit awakens something sacred inside me”

Growing up in Indiana I knew going West was my future. I headed to Seattle to learn the art of mountaineering in the Great Pacific Northwest before turning my focus to the countries highest peak around the world. Today my life goal is to summit the highest peaks on the seven continents, also known as the Seven Summits. With five complete to date, some may be easy, some difficult and a few almost impossible, but collectively no matter how far I get, it will be a life worth living.

What does it mean to have a Perfect Life?

Is it someone who is worth a million dollars? Is it someone who won many Olympic medals? Is it someone who scaled Mount Everest only as a prize? These achievements may make a perfect life to some individuals, but for me, it is to climb mountains throughout the remainder of my life, as long as possible. In the mountaineering community, Ed Viesturs has carved a amazing ability to balance his Urban Mountain more than anyone I can think of in the field of mountaineering.

The Urban Mountain

The Urban Mountain is the life you must climb to exist in society. We all know money is required for shelter, warmth, food, and other social aspects. Over 150 years ago, one may have survived without currency by living off the land. That has changed in the modern world.

The more money we make, the more we enjoy life, in most cases. The Urban Mountain is not about how to climb the corporate ladder, but more the spirit of being present, enjoying each moment of life to the fullest extent. How can I bring the spirit I experience when on the mountain back home when pressures of society exert themselves? Freedom can be a state of mind.

In pursuit of this challenge, I have targeted certain pillars in life that guide me to summits, as well as my Urban Mountain. Embracing this spirit in society is a true treasure. Monetary items do not drive me, even though it is required for life’s essentials; it is this spirit that drives a deeper understanding of my passions.

What are the Similarities?

I feel most alive with the challenge of travels off the beaten path, clear air with incredible colors created only by a natural sunrise and sunset, the pride of achieving new adventures and the satisfaction my exhausted body feels after a long day on the trail. When on the mountains, it leads me to a deeper sense of myself.

When I get back from the mountains, it seems way too easy to settle into a lazy routine, eating and drinking too much, taking a few days off which often lead to a few weeks or even months. But it is not just the body; it is also the mind and soul.

What does it take to thrive at the same level of mind, body and soul whether on a mountain ridge with exposure far below, or picking up groceries for the week. Am a crazy to even bring both together? I don’t think so, as trust, appreciation, stability, presence, growth, peace followed by the pursuit of perfection are required at all times regardless of geography.

Pillars of the Urban Mountain

On the mountain, TRUST in climbing partners and equipment is critical to keep the team safe.

APPRECIATION comes together with the incredible landscape I see for miles and miles all around, a gift of nature through glaciers and rivers that keep me hydrated and the colors created only by a natural sunrise and sunset.

STABILITY is a mindset characterized by well-thought-out decisions and consistent behavior.

PRESENCE is fully here rather than always chasing the “somewhere else.”

GROWTH is the required change in your life to stay on the path of knowledge.

PEACE prevents conflicts, creating common ground between others or within you in tricky situations.

PURSUIT OF PERFECTION is the never-ending life quest.

How can you bring the Mountain to Your Life?

Most of us take a career as a manager, school teacher, waiter, administrative assistant, engineer or police officer. Not to say those are not rewarding, but it is hard to pay the bills being a artist, musician, dancer, cyclist, golfer, or even a mountaineer.

That is where the Urban Mountain comes in. It is the life we must balance to be truly fulfilled in the desire of what drives us and brings a twinkle to our eyes.

My Quest began when I moved West prior to understanding what it really meant

Climbing the North Cascades seemed to quench my mountaineering spirit when living in Washington State even with a vision of the Seven Summits. Only until I arrived in sunny California, thought to be a mistake by a few close friends, did I know this is when the quest would drive forward.

As a mountaineer, survey markers or informally known as benchmarks are placed on the Earth’s surface to indicate key points of elevation. We take pride offering custom and replicas benchmarks using only the best materials and highest quality technology all made in our great country to commemorate your life accomplishments.

Kilimanjaro: 19,340′, Africa – Summit 2010

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa at 19,340 feet. It is located in Tanzania and part of the Kilimanjaro National Park. Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano with its three volcanic cones, “Kibo”, “Mawenzi”, and “Shira”. It is part of the Seven Summits making it a popular destination for many.

Mt Elbrus: 18,510′, Europe – Summit July 2013

Mount Elbrus is the highest peak in Russia at 18,510 feet in elevation and one of the Seven Summits. It is part of the Caucasus Range near the border of Georgia, a country at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Mount Elbrus is the tenth most prominent mountain in the world and a dormant volcano with its last eruption said to have been 15-17 centuries ago.

Aconcagua: 22,841′, South America – Summit Jan 2015

Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside of Asia at 22,831 feet. It is located in Argentina in the Andes mountain range with the summit located about 3 miles from the international border of Chile. It is one of the Seven Summits, highest in South America and in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also one of the most sought after in the seven-thousand meter circuit. The mountain was created by the subduction of plates; but it is not a volcano. Although the effects of altitude are severe with only 40% of the air at sea-level at the summit, the use of supplemental oxygen is not common.

Denali: 20,320′, North America – Expedition to West Buttress Ridge 2011, Summit June 2016

In the Alaska Range with its rugged chain of peaks, it is home to the most impressive mountains in North America. Denali, standing at 20,310′, is the highest mountain in North America and one of the World’s Seven Summits. It is surrounded by massive glaciers and peaks only 300 miles South of the Arctic Circle and 200 miles East of the Bearing Sea making weather a difficult adversary. Denali offers some of the largest vertical gain of any mountain on Earth with base camp starting after a flight onto the glacier at 7,200 feet.

Mt. Everest: 29,035′, Asia. Everest Base Camp & Lobuche East at 20,075 feet – Summit May 2017. Ama Dablam at 22,349 feet Oct 2019, Expedition to the world’s highest point – May 2021 to celebrate my 50th year!

The highest mountain on Earth is also known as Sagarmāthā in Nepal. It is part of the Mahalangur mountain range in both Nepal and Tibet, with an elevation if 29,029 feet above sea level. Everest’s summit borders between two countries, China and Nepal.

Kosciusko 7,313′, Australia – Scheduled Summer 2019

Mount Kosciuszko in New South Wales is the highest peak in Australia at 7,310 feet. It is located in Kosciuszko National Park and one of the Seven Summits, the highest points in each continent. The Australian Alps contain Australia’s only peaks exceeding 6,600 feet in elevation.

Vinson Massif: 16,067′, Antarctica – TBA after Everest

Vinson Massif is part of the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains in the Antarctica. It’s the highest peak on the continent at 16,067 feet and part of the Seven Summits. Vinson Massif is a mass of rock and ice on the most remote continent on Earth making it also the coldest of the Seven Summits, ironically having the lowest snowfall with high winds. Planning has begun for a expedition to Vinson Massif in the 2017 / 2018 season. Transportation is key thus a introduction email sent in July 2016 to Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions LLC (ALE) whom offers air transportation, logistic support and emergency response for those venturing to the interior of Antarctica. They are the largest and most experienced commercial flight and logistic providers on the continent.

Carstensz Pyramid: 16,023′, Oceania – TBA after Vinson Massif

Puncak Jaya also known as Cartensz Pyramid is the highest mountain in Indonesia at 16,024 feet above sea level and the highest on the island of New Guinea in the Suridiman Range. It’s considered to some the highest on the continent of Australia/Oceania, not Mount Kosciuszko creating controversy on what should be included as the Seven Summits. This has divided some mountaineers into two separate groups when completing the quest.

“On route and safe travels!”

Via our basecamp we collaborate with great organizations with similar aspirations to connect the outdoor adventurer and drive a better world or join the Geo’Junga community via our social media sites. If we can answer any questions, send us a email at mountainmonkeycompany@gmail.com.

Jerald & Eileen Richardson, Founders