Wilford Welch

The Presentation

It is the first week of May 1994 and you are on the Sagarmatha Environmental Expedition. Teammate Scott Fischer has just descended from the summit of Mount Everest to Camp IV at 26,000 feet. Steve Goryl, the expedition leader, has just ascended to Camp IV after taking a teammate down to Camp III. Scott advises Steve not to attempt to summit alone, ending with the warning that if Steve attempts to achieve the goal he has focused on for 2 1/2 years he will die.

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During a two-hour multimedia presentation, Steve Goryl and Wilford Welch will describe what it takes to plan for a major expedition and then successfully climb the world’s highest mountains. They will explore with you what it takes to achieve individual, group, and organizational goals while constantly reassessing risks, current capabilities and potential strategies.

  • How do individuals, teams and organizations decide whether to move forward or retreat when the stakes have been dramatically raised?
  • What did Steve do under these circumstances and why?
  • How is high altitude mountaineering similar to business planning?
  • What factors caused this 1994 expedition to be so successful?

The 1994 Sagarmatha Environmental Expedition set many precedents for environmentally conscious expeditions on Mount Everest. The expedition removed over 5,000 pounds of trash from the mountain and started the Bottle Recovery Incentive Plan that is currently enforced by the government of Nepal. The American Alpine Club awarded the team the David Brower Award for Environmental Action. Four of the five team members attained the summit. For two hours you will be on Mount Everest, during which we will share with you the stories of this historic climb. The techniques you observe, will help you reach your own individual, team, and organizational heights.

Wilford Welch – Wilford Welch’s depth of experience and overwhelming concern for humanity, are evidenced by all he has done. With degrees from Yale, Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley, he has already had six successful careers: As a U.S. diplomat he played a significant role during the Nixon administration in the early stages of the U.S. reconciliation with China. As the first professor of international business management in the U.S. he was at the forefront of how to develop successful business strategies and sound operations around the world. As a business strategy consultant at Arthur D. Little Inc., he worked for such global companies as Toyota, Citibank and Alcoa to help them clarify their mission, goals and strategies. As president and publisher of “The WorldPaper” he helped build a publication distributed in 27 countries and six language editions. Currently, as the head of the Emerging Global Leaders Fellowship Program, he is helping educate the next generation of leaders around the world in conflict resolution and peace building. And, his formal training is as an attorney. Wilford has also relished opportunities to explore the wild places of the earth.

After leading a harrowing expedition down a first descent of a river in Taiwan, he realized he needed formal training in the skills of wilderness expeditioning. This led him to become a student of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Realizing the value of that wilderness education, he went on to become chairman of the board of NOLS and helped shape its mission and strategies. He very quickly became interested in mountaineering and particularly Mount Everest. In Tibet in 1988 he shot the cover photo of the National Geographic Society’s climbing map of Mount Everest. Wilford went on to be an essential support member of the Sagarmatha Environmental Expedition in 1994, and is one of the few who has traveled through the Khumbu icefall. Working now from a houseboat, he and his wife Carole operate the Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation, an organization dedicated to bringing concerned global citizens to some of the most remote places on earth to explore cultures and indigenous wisdoms. One of their current projects, “Quest for Global Healing”, is a conference to be held in Bali this December. This conference will bring together some of the world’s leading citizens, including Nobel Peace Prize recipient Desmond Tutu, to focus on the need to build a more peaceful, sustainable world.

Steve Goryl – Steve is one of the most experienced Outdoor Educators in the world. For 20 years he was the lead instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). He taught over 120 NOLS courses for a total of over 440 weeks, an extraordinary eight and a half years living, working and surviving in wilderness environments. On these expeditions, he taught over 1,000 students how to achieve their objectives in wilderness and how to live well with the earth. NOLS awarded him the title of “Master of Outdoor Education” He is one of only six NOLS instructors to hold that title.

  • During 20 years of professional mountaineering Steve has climbed the four highest of the “Seven Summits”:
  • Everest (29,035 feet), known by it’s Nepali name Sagarmatha. Steve was the leader of the Sagarmatha Environmental Expedition in 1994.
  • Aconcagua (22,834 feet), located in Argentina, he climbed this peak 5 times without oxygen in 1988 1989 and 1990.
  • Denali (20,320 feet),also known as Mount McKinley, his first high altitude climb with Wilford Welch in 1990.
  • Kilimanjaro (19,334 feet), the highest point in Afica. Steve celebrated his 50th with this summit in May 2004.

Steve is also a very accomplished ocean voyager. He is a S.C.U.B.A. diver with over 300 open water dives and many years as a sailboat captain. He sails annually off the coast of Maine in a 30 ft. Gulfstream sloop. Steve and another NOLS instructor have sailed a 20 ft boat across the Sea of Cortez. In addition, he has over 20 years of skydiving experience, and has completed over 1,200 skydives, including 100 tandem jumps with students attached to his chest. In August of 2003 he made a skydive from 30,860 ft. (higher than Everest) which included a two minute and 15 second free fall. He has also made several “para pente” descents. In other words, Steve has learned to appreciate and to instruct others in all three of our natural environments, land, sea and air. He is a “world class adventurer”.

For the last eight years Steve has worked as a systems administrator in information technologies. He is an accomplished UNIX administrator, specializing in SUN Solaris and network administration. He greatly enjoys the science of the Internet.

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