Aug 24

Shameless self-promotion at its best

As Lunchboy pointed out in a response to a recent Repman blog entitled ‘Crazy Bosses,’ I’m the first to admit that I’d fit neatly within the narcissist category. That’s one of five classifications of crazies bosses created by author Stanley Bing (the others being: disaster seeker, bully, wimp and paranoid, respectively).

So, it is with no redeeming value and no correlation to image or reputation whatsoever, that I now share a six-minute slideshow from my recent sojourn to St. Petersburg, Moscow and Mt. Elbrus in the Caucasus. Note: Chris Repman, Jr., Cody is sporting a black beard and I’m the one climbing in a red parka with pain etched across his face.

I’ve discovered that climbing parallels stand-up comedy (my other hobby) in one important way: you meet people you’d never otherwise come into contact with in this workaday world of ours. The Mt. Elbrus team consisted of a urologist, an HR director who’d just swum the English Channel, a 60-year-old retired millionaire who runs marathons for kicks, an entrepreneur who’d just climbed Mt. Everest, a husband-and-wife team of software developers from Seattle, an Iraqi war veteran just back after four years in Baghdad, a former Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and our guide, Vern, who has climbed the Seven Summits nine, count ‘em, nine times (that simultaneously makes him the Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig of mountaineering).

I’ve found that mountain climbing clears my mind better than any stint on a beach possibly could, because it involves some risk of danger and loads of concentration and forces out any and all extraneous thoughts (i.e. the prospect who doesn’t return your calls, the client who’s decided to put the account up for review or the trade editor who refuses to understand your POV on the inequality of industry awards’ competitions). Yes, Virginia, mountaineering does all that for me.

I’ve done Kilimanjaro and, now, Elbrus (even if an injury did force me to pull up 500 feet short of the summit). Chris and I are now contemplating Aconcagua in the early winter. Crazy? Perhaps. Rewarding? Definitely. Narcissistic? Hey, I warned you.

Jul 23

And, now, it’s on to Mother Russia and let’s win there

This Sunday, Chris “Repman, Jr.”, Cody and I leave on a two-week trip to Russia. Our goal is to
Elbrus-map summit Mt. Elbrus in the Caucasus. If successful, it will enable us to lay claim to having bagged two of the world’s ‘Seven Summits.’ We celebrated New Year’s Eve 2007 on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa, and hope to top out on Elbrus on August 3rd.

‘Kili’ was a beast, and Elbrus looks to be no easier. At 18,481 feet, it’s Europe’s highest point. It’s a double-coned volcano that is wrapped in ice and snow (which, if nothing else, will provide a welcomed break from this horrific hazy, hot and humid weather we’ve been experiencing for the last month or so).

In addition to the climb, we’ll be touring St. Petersburg and Moscow (and, possibly, ducking stray bullets and mortar shells from irate Chechnyan rebels).

As I’ve done on my previous trips abroad, I’ll be asking locals their views on the image and reputation of the U.S. (being careful not to offend any irate Chechnyan rebels in the process). This is my first big trip abroad since Obama assumed office, so it will be interesting to see if, as was the case with his predecessor, I hear the locals say something to the effect, “We love Americans. We just hate your President.” Most Tea Party members, Evangelicals and Glenn Beck fans would probably say the same thing.

I hope to file at least one blog from the former Soviet Union if the vagaries of wireless connection enable me to do so. If not, Repman readers will be blessed by content provided by a host of able and willing guest bloggers who have volunteered to fill the void (however miniscule said void may be).

And, so I end by paraphrasing the final, immortal words of Senator Robert F. Kennedy: “And, now, it’s on to Mother Russia and let’s win there.”