Jeff Glasbrenner going over crevasse

Elevation and Escalation
in Ecuador

March 14, 2016 - As one might imagine, climbing Mount Everest isn’t something you attempt without extensive preparation.

In these months leading up to my Everest climb, training is my top priority. A key piece of that training is completing other major climbs across the globe, leading up to the big event in May.

I recently finished my hardest training climb yet: Cayambe in Ecuador. It’s a 19,124-foot volcano (compared to Everest’s 29,029 feet). Besides pure physicality, training climbs test mental ability and technical skills (such as crossing a crevasse with a ladder, which I’m doing in the photo above). For me, this climb also tested my new prosthetic climbing leg. But, we’ll talk more about the leg later.

The day before the summit, a group of about 30 climbers arrived at the hut where I was staying. As we sat around the fireplace together, they noticed I was missing a leg. In shock, many of them said there was no way I could make it to the top with one leg. I told them I would be just fine.

The next morning, that group left first for the climb, two hours before us. Two hours into the climb, we started passing some of them. One hour from the top, we passed the entire team. We were the first to make it to the summit, just after sunrise and 20 minutes before the next team arrived.

When embarking on this type of adventure—and it doesn’t have to be climbing a mountain—believing in yourself is truly the most important thing. It doesn’t matter what others might say or do; it matters what YOU think and what YOU do. Experiences like this one only reinforce that for me.

So, back to my prosthetic leg. Turns out, it didn’t work! It didn’t latch into the ice correctly—and it made it unstable for me to walk. We’re working on another one now… except this time, we have an engineer from NASA on the team. I’m feeling good about that!

More to come soon. Thanks for following my journey.


Watch highlights from Jeff’s expedition in Ecuador: