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Saturday, 28 July 2018
The High One: Denali








Obstacles are put in your way to see if what you want is worth fighting for. When you climb with a team of friends they are your soul animals. As a mountain climber one develops meaningful relationships with your fellow climbers and your own spirit or power animal. These relationships develop with several power animals that will guide your team during various phases of your life and climbing adventures.




Since the Hudson party first climbed to the summit of Denali in 1913, over 30,000 climbers have attempted to reach Denali’s summit. More than 80% of the climbers go up the West Buttress route. The route is technically easy but should never be underestimated.  It is rated at a level 2 difficulty. Success in mountaineering should not be measured solely by whether or not you reach the summit. But also, by achieving the satisfaction of carrying out a safe and well-planned exhibition on one of the most extreme mountains on earth.




There are no books that supply the judgement, experience and safety you need to climb the 7 summits. Each individual climber must bring his or her own resources and capabilities to the climb.  Conditions are constantly changing, and climbers needs to be prepared for the unknown. Everything can get cold on the mountain, including one’s soul.  The perseverance, intense physical exertion, teamwork and patient acclimatization are all necessary for this climb. Many climbers find this to be the most challenging thing they have done in the mountains.




From the town of Talkeetna, you fly to the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier Basecamp situated between the spectacular peaks of Foraker and Hunter. From there the route is undertakend "expedition style" - carrying high and sleeping low, in a series of four camps. This unforgettable climb has long been regarded as a world-class expedition challenge, comparable to the Himalayan giants, and must of any high-altitude climber.




We arrived in Talkeetna and checked in with the friendly folks at Talkeetna K2 air taxi.  They told us they could fly us on the glacier in one hour.  After a check in at the ranger station, we did a final weigh-in and loaded our gear onto the plane.  It takes about thirty minutes to fly from the airport in Talkeetna to the Moose’s Tooth.  As we approached our landing site, our pilot banked the plane hard and circled us in for landing.  He set the plane down on the hanging glacier just a five-minute walk from the start of Ham and Eggs.  




After getting the duffels out of the plane we started setting up camp, digging in our cook tent, and building snow walls.  We were all feeling good with our initial bump in altitude, due to the hypoxic tents we had been sleeping in. We decided we would wake up early the next morning and climb to Camp 1.  After a 2:30 alarm sounded we cooked up some breakfast, drank some coffee, and by 2:45 we were off to the races.  After a half hour we had crossed the bergschrund (A bergschrund is a crevasse that forms where moving glacier ice separates from the stagnant ice or firn above ) and made our way through the steep snow slabs that guard the first pitch.  “Ham and Eggs” is primarily a 50-degree snow climb with a handful of steeper rock and ice sections to add to the excitement... and exposure.  The summit ridge requires careful traversing on a heavily corniced ridge.  From camp to the summit is 3,000’ of vertical gain.  We made good time up the route finding it in favorable condition. We even stopped at the col for thirty minutes to brew up some coffee.




The following day we lounged around camp, looked up at the route we had climbed, and soaked in the views of Denali and Mount Huntington.  We contemplated climbing another route, but with some uncertainty in the forecast we decided that we had done what we came to do and it would be best to get out before we got stuck.  In order to fly in and out of the range, pilots need ideal conditions with good visibility most of the way from Talkeetna to the glaciers.  Sometimes with large storms it can be up to a week where no planes fly.  Fortunately for us, despite a cloud bank in the foothills the next day, a plane came to pick us up and brought us back to town.




The Kahiltna Glacier is renowned for giant crevasses and I wondered how it would feel juddering over them as we landed, but we hardly noticed. The glacier is smooth with plenty of fresh snow cover – not one of those dry glaciers containing a jumbled mass of ice and moraine. Base Camp is right next to the airstrip at 2400m, right underneath the impressive 4442m Mount Hunter, the third highest peak in the Alaska Range, whose easier summit slopes appeared to be guarded by a 1500m wall of rock and ice. At the far end of the airstrip 5304m Mount Foraker, a massive triangular bulk of snow, rose above a junction of glaciers. 6194m Denali is more of a giant whaleback and peered out between two smaller peaks to the north. Although it’s clearly much bigger than everything else around it, it appears less forbidding than its two neighbors and is a less technical climb. Patience and a sense of humor are often as valuable as technical climbing skills, and the team must be filled with endlessly cheerful characters who can keep people motivated and entertained when things aren’t going to plan.


As well as the new experience of perpetual daylight, that first day out of Base Camp was my first experience of towing a sledge. With 20kg on my back and 30kg in the sledge behind me I had some concerns about how I would cope with the physical exertions I would be putting through muscles I don’t usually use. In the end I didn’t find it at all bad. Towing a 30kg sledge is an order of magnitude easier than carrying a 30kg pack, and although I sometimes arrived in camp with aching buttocks, I never did tire of hearing some of the American members of the team complain of having a “sore fanny” (This wasn’t the only time the nuances of British and US English caused entertainment. I remember the ski tourers in the group being puzzled by my expression during a conversation they were having about “skinning up”. I had to explain that skinning up can also mean rolling a joint, an activity more closely associated with snow-boarding than skiing.




The position of Denali’s airstrip on an elevated section of the Kahiltna Glacier, means you have to start climbing the mountain by walking downwards on a section of glacier called Heartbreak Hill, a name whose significance only becomes obvious on the return journey at the end of a tiring expedition. Walking downhill with a sledge has its own difficulties, but we walked roped together, with the rope passing through carabiners attached to the sledges. This means it’s possible for the person behind you to keep the sledge from crashing into the back of you by keeping the rope tight. The first day from Base Camp to Camp 1 is mostly along the flat, and is good terrain for all, and to become accustomed to our burdens.




Camp 1 is located at the very foot of Denali, at the point where the glacier steepens, and the true ascent begins. Beyond it the slope climbs steeply to the Kahiltna Pass, a col between Denali and the ridge linking it to Mount Foraker. Our plan was to spend two nights there and do a carry of equipment on the first day and cache it in a snow hole at the pass before coming back down again. This follows the standard high altitude mountaineering dictum of climbing high and sleeping low which assists with acclimatization as the body gradually becomes accustomed to the altitude.  Everyone was in good shape and keen to go up the Kahiltna Pass and get the additional acclimatization that came with it.




At the Kahiltna Pass the route turns west and begins climbing the West Buttress on a relatively gentle snow ramp which leads between shoulders of mountain all the way up to Camp 3 at 4300m. Camp 2 lies in a flattish area of the ramp a couple of hundred meters above the Kahiltna Pass at 3300m (Americans still measure mountains in feet rather than meters, and Camps 2 and 3 are often referred to by their altitudes as 11,000 ft camp and 14,000 ft camp, respectively).  We expected to experience meant a daytime ascent would be preferable, and the carry went without a hitch, although Windy Corner certainly lived up to its name. Expecting to complete our climb up to Camp 3 the following day with the rest of our equipment, we awoke to news that two teams were abandoning the mountain and others were thinking of following. The park rangers were said to be advising teams not to advance to Camp 3 until conditions improved. The incident which sparked this panic was a large rock falling from the West Buttress at Windy Corner and landing between two climbers attached on the same rope. News was spreading around camp that the unprecedented warm temperatures were causing the ice to melt and produce unacceptable rockfall danger. But we had been round Windy Corner the previous day during the heat of the afternoon sun, and while we could see some rocks had fallen, far from being unacceptable we could see clearly enough the level of risk was relatively small. Mountaineering is not without risk, but neither is driving. To abandon the mountain purely because of a reported near miss seemed akin to avoiding a road just because the last time you drove down there you passed an accident site. But hearsay was proving more powerful than hard evidence. Our mountaineering instincts told us it was safe to do continue. Phone calls were bouncing backwards and forwards between rangers, guides and their offices, and some team leaders were being advised by their bosses in Washington to exercise caution. In this context our desire to push on appeared bullish; other guides were looking at us with horror, and it’s not good for a mountain guide to acquire a reputation for being reckless. We stayed put while other guides made tentative forays around Windy Corner to see for themselves.




Even so, we were still making good time. We established ourselves in Camp 3.  Many people say Camp 3 is the most beautiful camp on Denali, and it’s not hard to see how it acquired this reputation. It rests on a huge plateau directly underneath the steep walls of the West Buttress. It’s the highest point you can drag a sledge, and behind camp the climbing proper begins as a wide snow gully leads up to a notch on the crest of the buttress. Looking the other way, you appear to be on a balcony overlooking a giant cloud theatre. The crinkled summit of Mount Hunter peeps just a few hundred meters above, while Mount Foraker is still quite imposing. Between them the Kahiltna Glacier provides an alleyway to the far horizon, viewed across miles of green swamp. Arriving at camp is a memorable experience. It’s Denali’s last hospitable location, and people often spend days there waiting for a weather window. To guard against the high winds tent platforms are sunk into deep pits, and walls of snow are built around them. We arrived late in the season when many of these sites had been abandoned, and I felt like I was approaching some lost city in the desert.


After a rest day at Camp 3 our progress continued when we climbed up the snow gully to the crest of the West Buttress. Just below the ridge line the snow slope steepens to an angle of nearly 50 degrees and a series of fixed ropes have been installed. Using elegant climbing I hauled myself up these Himalayan-style using a jumar. It’s almost the most technical part of the entire West Buttress route and purists would wince, but most of us are here for different reasons. Behind me the view was breathtaking, and far beyond the Kahiltna Glacier I could see another distant line of mountains which was so far away it appeared to hang in the clouds. When we reached the ridge it was in and out of mist and gusting strong winds every few seconds. We cached our equipment a short way above in snow that was as hard as stone and tiring to dig. The climbing was becoming more difficult.




There were signs the weather was also changing. Until then it had been almost too good: clear skies and mild temperatures. It was so warm it had induced an unnecessary panic at Camp 2. There was a lot of snow at Camp 3 the following day and we listened to the sound of thunder. Up at Camp 4 climbers were a bit more frightened. They were experiencing a lightning storm, and hurriedly depositing ice axes, shovels and anything else that might conduct as far away from their tents as possible before huddling inside and trying their best to sleep through it all. We were ready to move up there ourselves and listened to the weather forecast being broadcast from Base Camp. It wasn’t encouraging.




We had to consider the wind chill, and with wind speeds in excess of 25 mph frostbite became a genuine risk. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now: a summit is never worth losing digits for.   We really had just two options:




1.     We could wait at Camp 3 and ascend to Camp 4 on the 2nd, hoping there would be a suitable summit opportunity.


2.     We could ascend to Camp 4 the next day, and hope the forecast was wrong and hold out for a possible summit opportunity on any of the four subsequent days.




If we were in the Himalayas climbing an 8000m peak with plenty of days left to wait for our opportunity, then there was no doubt no.1 would be the favored option. It was comfortable at Camp 3. We had two to a tent, plenty of good food available, and it was reasonably sheltered. All we needed to do was rest, eat well, bide our time, then strike for the summit on the next favorable weather window. At Camp 4 we would be three to a tent at the end of an exposed ridge, and surviving on a diet of dehydrated food. Lying in a storm up there for days would grind us down physically and mentally.




It was a day to cast summit dreams aside and enjoy the moment as we climbed along a knife edge ridge above the clouds with the whole of Alaska beneath us. We picked up our cache on the way and carried double loads for much of the climb, every buckle and strap loaded down with pendulums of loose kit. It didn’t matter to me, though. Rarely have I felt such a combination of exhilaration and exhaustion. On the latter part Denali Pass appeared in the distance, the col between Denali’s two main summits. A snowy trail known as the Autobahn led to it from Camp 4 hidden behind a rocky promontory in front of us. To Denali Pass is much of the climb on summit day and it seemed within touching distance. The weather was as good as it gets with clear skies and barely a breath of wind, and we dared to hope the weather forecast was wrong and we could ascend tomorrow.




We were exhausted when we staggered into camp at 5250m in a broad snow basin at the end of the ridge with the main summit rising gently above. It was 8pm and we still had to carve out a tent platform, pitch the tent with extra pegs and pickets and build a wall around us. It was another three hours before we could crawl into my sleeping bag. Consequently, I wasn’t too upset when I woke up to wind and snow the following day, and knew I had a rest day ahead of me. We gathered in a gloomy mist that afternoon and spent a few hours mining blocks of snow with saws and shovels to strengthen the walls around us. Waking up and finding a layer of snow on our sleeping bags, we closed the ventilation up again and we repeated the process throughout the night. By morning the inside of our tent was beginning to resemble Narnia. I’ve never seen so much snow inside before. We were lucky though. The other climbers woke up to find themselves suffocating, and had to go outside and rebuild a wall that had collapsed on top of them.




But we didn’t have much time and would be taking a great risk if we stayed at Camp 3. We needed a two day window at least in order to reach the summit from there, and we didn’t know if there was going to be a single day. We would be wagering everything on good weather on Wednesday.




The next day, the weather was glorious, and we made the decision to climb to Camp 4. We were taking a risk either way, but by spending up to four days at Camp 4 I felt we were giving ourselves the greater opportunity.




The following day, Wednesday, was our last realistic opportunity if we hoped to catch our flights home in time to return to work when we promised we would. We left at 9.30am, reasoning that this time we would be climbing into the warmth of the afternoon sun. A couple of hundred meters after setting off we realized we were struggling into a howling blizzard. My snow goggles had iced up already, and it was insanity to go on. We all voted for insanity..




Nine hours after leaving camp we stood on the summit.  There was no wind, and it was warm enough to hang out without wearing gloves.  I was surprised that my phone had full service on the summit, so we made phone calls to the one person we love the most. We enjoyed the view and started making our way down the summit ridge.  After reversing the summit ridge, 15 or so (we lost count) rappels got us back across the bergschrund and only about five minutes from camp.  We arrived back in camp about 14 hours after we left.  After eating some pizza and enjoying some beer we called it a day.




The distances one travels on Denali are actually quite short, less than a marathon. The first day at basecamp (elevation of 7800 feet) one only travels 5.5 miles. The next step is to climb ski hill, turn east below Kahilta pass and then north to 11,000 feet.   That distance is only 4 miles. Next, another 2.8 miles climbing motorcycle hill, traverse north of squirrel point and finally navigate to windy corner to 14,200. The next day brings you to 17,200 feet by climbing a moderate slope to the base of 55-degree headwall (15,400). There are two fixed lines to assist climbers. Then turn right to the east (you turn left on the way down) to climb the headwall and gain to the west buttress. This is the steepest section, the crux of the entire route.  We used our ascenders to assist us up. Then the final push to the summit. It’s only 2.5 miles and took 9 hours. One has to ascend just south of Denali pass (18,200) follow the ridge SSE to the football field (19,500) to climb Pighill to Kahilta horn. The final walk along the summit ridge gets you to the 23,320 marker and you think, this is the best $350 I have ever spent. (for the permit).




Washburn’s thumb should not be ignored on route to high camp. It’s 60-degree slope at 17,200 feet is quite the challenge. Rappelling the fixed lines on the ridge to high camp with 70lbs Packs is quite an amazing task.




My favorite moment --descent from high camp to base camp. We navigated in a disorienting white out winds that howled so hard, I was certain it would knock someone over into the unknown. The hail and snow pummeled our faces as we rounded windy corner. We had to use our GPS and travel wands like a long game of connect the dots.


The success of getting to the summit is overwhelming as a team. Only 50% get to the summit on Denali that try. Many are overtaken by frostbite or altitude. We took the West Buttress route which is the easiest route. The brutal weather, crevasses and 60-degree slopes can bring the most seasoned climber plummeting to their deaths.




Your team is your life line. We love our team and its members. We constantly are in support and motivating each other to take the next step. There is a level of respect we all have for the mountain. The focus on person health is critical for a successful and safe climb. All climbers must ensure they are hydrated the entire way. Like Rod Perry (the founder of the Iditarod) we study the pioneers prior to every climb.




The views we see are climbers are the most magnificent panoramas in the world. Frostbite awaits you, ready to jump on you at the slightest demonstration of arrogance to the mountain.  The climate is tough. We drew heavily from our Himalayan, Aconcagua and Killimonjaro experiences to survive. It is a respectful team that gets to stand on the summit. The success is rewarding. It’s like looking out the windows of heaven.  This was a tiny polar expedition in 3 dimensions. The wonderful companions we have with whom we lived, struggled and climbed are epic.


Posted by tammyduffy at 5:00 PM EDT
Saturday, 7 July 2018
Parts Unknown





By Tammy Duffy



When you are climbing your mind is clear. You are free of all confusion. Then suddenly the light becomes sharper, sounds are richer, with the deep powerful sounds of life. The greater the difficulty of a journey the more purification occurs to one’s soul. Time stands still.  Anthony Bourdain made time stand still for us. His amazing journeys all over the world created a sense of adventure and love lust for all.




There are people we meet or do not meet in our lives; that influence us in ways we can never imagine. They give our lives a prolonged spiritual depth that’s palpable. On June 8th the world lost an amazing man, Anthony Bourdain. I cried heavy tears at the news of his death. I was heartbroken that I would never be able to have that dream dinner I desired with him.  




I would watch his shows in awe and always thought, he must have a cast iron stomach and have no food allergies.  He would eat anything put in front of him. Some of the thrilling episodes he ate pigs blood in Thailand.  While in Okinawa he learned how to do karate. I loved this episode. My Father was in Okinawa in the Marine Corp and was a Karate and Jujutsu black belt.  



One show he ate bull penis, turkey testicles, steamed pig’s feet, goose intestines in black bean sauce, maggot rice and fetal duck eggs. All of which he enjoyed.  Tony traveled to Parts Unknown and in conflict zones. His trip to Libya, Gaza, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Iran were amazing. He loved art for as he traveled he would show the art, museums and local customs in a way that made you feel like you were there. 






He ate with Presidents, other chefs and the locals in the communities where he visited. I always dreamed of having dinner with him. Allowing him to enter my home in his Clark’s and talking about art, food and cultures. The man was an amazing soul.




Since 2002, we have been blessed with his presence on TV on the show, A Cook’s Tour.  His final TV show, Parts Unknown was electric. He embodied the spirit of travel, adventure, and strove to make the world a true community.  Bourdain's exceptional writing was mesmerizing. He was a fearless eater; very brave. He would try anything.  My favorite interactions were when he would go to people’s homes. He was always the gracious guest.






I get my wish now, for I can have dinner with Tony every night. An amazing artist by the name of Erika Iris Simmons has created an artwork of Anthony Bourdain that I had to have. It’s brilliant. It’s magical and it's so Tony! It is the perfect representation of a man who visited the world and experienced food, culture and art.



Over the years Erika Iris Simmons collected various bar labels and matchbook covers from all over the world. She used many different materials in the piece. Using antique maps, she created the paths that Tony traveled. By using fortunes from fortune cookies, she strategically placed sayings throughout the piece that represent Tony’s soul.  



There is one fortune to the left of his face that is amazing. The fortune next to his face reads: The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything. Another one near his boots just says Chinese for "beer." She wanted it both light and serious like him. She created the piece in the hope to have honored his legacy it was made purely out of respect. She has done that in the most amazing way.



Most of the labels are French wine labels and vintage Japanese matchbook covers in the piece. But there are also absinthe labels and other alcohols. There are also many worn pages with Asian typography sprinkled throughout as well. Erika kept all the edges very torn and rugged. She thought Tony would have hated anything too polished. But the resin coating looks like glass and protects all the delicate textures. Forever protecting Tony.



There is a show up in Chicago right now at the whiskey bar called "Delilah's. (2771 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614) There are several other small pieces in the show, but the Anthony artwork is the showstopper. The show is set to run until the end of July.  




https://www.iri5.com/ is Erika’s website. Go buy yourself a piece of her art. IT’S AMAZING and will transform your home into Parts Unknown. 







Posted by tammyduffy at 7:05 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 July 2018 9:54 AM EDT
Sunday, 1 July 2018
How To Prepare to Climb Denali









Climbing Denali is a serious undertaking! So your program training to climb Denali must also be a serious undertaking. The rigors of a 3-week expedition to high altitude require a lot of effort from its team members. Not only does being fit make the experience a lot more enjoyable, it is practically a prerequisite for expedition mountaineering and can make or break the climb. Besides spending long hours travelling the glacier and gaining altitude while carrying a heavy pack and pulling a sled, it is hard work setting up camp, shoveling tent platforms, and building snow walls. The more physically prepared you are for this workload; the better becomes your chance of success on the mountain.


The training program we describe here is designed to get you fit and strong within a six-month period. This assumes that you already have a basic level of fitness (you should be used to about 3-4 hours of exercise per week), some prior mountaineering experience, and have done long hikes with heavy boots and a pack. The program is based on the concept of progression, which means increasing the length and also intensity for your workouts gradually and systematically to adapt your body to higher and higher effort levels, preparing you for 8 to 10-hour days on the mountain. To achieve this adaptation, both specific (simulating the climbing on Denali) and non-specific (general endurance work-outs such as running, biking, cross-country skiing) training methods are used. Our structured training program is split up into macro-cycles of 1-month sections incorporating workouts of endurance, intensity, conditioning, and rest. You’ll need to adjust the program to work for your level of fitness, your schedule, and your training environment. Check with your personal physician and have a physical done before you start “you must be healthy to handle these workouts! A rough number for your max heart rate is 220 minus your age.


ENDURANCE – Aerobic fitness is gained by working out at a constant sub-maximum heart rate (about 65%) for longer than 30-45 min. The intensity level should be such that you can carry on a conversation, but are breaking a sweat. Hiking, running, cycling, cross-country skiing are all good ways of building endurance. You’ll spend most of your time on these.


INTENSITY – A workout with your heart rate up to 80% of max,  now your breathing hard! Think about climbing a steep section of the glacier with a heavy pack in deep snow… You’ll work up to doing these workouts later in the schedule.


CONDITIONING – An important part of your preparation! A strong body, especially a strong core, is necessary for all sorts of things, such as carrying a heavy pack, building camp, and carrying your loads back down the mountain. It also is a key element in preventing injuries and keeping your body balanced. This conditioning can be achieved in a variety of ways, choose what works best for you: cross-fit, yoga,pilates, strength training in the gym, or else.


REST – Each week has rest days and the end of each 4-week macro-cycle has a good rest period to allow for physical and mental recovery before the next block. Don’t skip these! The body needs this time to adapt to the progressively harder workouts.


6 Months pre-trip – Focus on increasing aerobic capacity with endurance training and getting a conditioning program started. Plan to spend about 4-6 hours per week doing general endurance training (outdoors or indoors, hike trails, run, bike, swim, ski, stair-master, etc.) with workouts lasting 40 mins to 1 hour and one longer one lasting up to 1 1/2 hours of easy pace, and workout (45 min long) of conditioning (choose your own). You should have 3 rest days per week. At the end of the month, take 4-5 days completely off from your training, which will give you a good time to recharge mentally and physically.


5 Months pre-trip – Focus on increasing the length on your endurance workouts.
Spend 5-7 hours per week doing general endurance training, starting to focus more on hiking / running / snowshoeing if possible and less on other exercises such as biking. Work up to a 2 hour-long workout at an easy pace each week. Keep with your routine of 1 session per week of conditioning. Take 2-3 rest days per week and 3-4 days completely off at the end of the month.


4 Months pre-trip – Focus on all-around improvement ““ creating a foundation for the serious training block coming up.Spend 6-8 hours per week on endurance training (again, try to incorporate specific training: hiking, running or cross country skiing). Start using your backpack. Add a work-out of 30 min of higher intensity training (heart rate 80% of max) ““ this could be for example running on hilly trails, hiking a steep mountain trail, a faster bike ride, or a skate skiing workout. Be sure to warm up and cool down for this workout. One of your endurance workouts should be up to 2 hr long. Keep with your conditioning routine or add a second session. Be disciplined and take 2-3 rest days per week. Take 3-4 days completely off at the end of the month. And take a deep breath ““ now we’re getting serious!
3 Months pre-trip – Focus on specific training. Try to train with your pack loaded with increasing weight. Try to get out on trails for your hikes and use your boots. If you can’t get out to do the specific training, do stair master workouts or something similar. Do 2 sessions of conditioning per week. One workout with 30-40 min of higher intensity integrated in it is preparing you for harder efforts on the mountain.
2 Months pre-trip – Focus on longer workouts. By increasing the length of your workouts you are getting ready for the long days on Denali. Try to do one long workout per week, a hilly hike would be best and the pace shouldn’t be too hard. Keep with your 2-session conditioning routine. Also keep your once-a-week intensity workout. Rest and relax at the end of the month.
1 Month pre-trip – Focus on adding intensity. This is the final 4 weeks of preparation. Your base fitness should continue to get stronger. Adding one harder workout (a second intensity session) will give you the ability to withstand fatigue better once you get to the mountain. Keep with your conditioning routine ““ increase the effort in your sessions. Do as much specific training as possible in your endurance and intensity workouts ““ this is when it really matters. At the end of the 4 weeks make sure you have several days of complete rest and recovery. Easy stretching or yoga would be great for this time. It’s important to come to the expedition ready and relaxed ““ you want to be well rested and chomping at the bit to get going.

Of course everyone has a different body, a different work schedule, and a different terrain to train in. For this reason you must make adjustments to your own personal training plan. Make it work within your possibilities. Switch the training days around if necessary. If you don’t have any mountains to climb nearby, try to at least hike outside some and do some stair-master workouts,climb the stair flights of a high-rise building, or cross-country ski (and carry your pack).  If you can, find some hilly trails nearby and occasionally try to do longer climbs in the mountains. If it’s dark when you come home from work, try an indoor routine and get outside on the weekends. Be creative.

A bit of general advise: A 6-month training program can seem long and daunting. Don’t get overwhelmed ““ instead, take it day by day. If you fall behind, don’t try to catch up by taking short cuts ““ adjust your progression to what is manageable for you. Also, don’t increase your workload too fast ““ you’ll risk getting injured or too tired. Listen to your body! If you’re sore every day ““ you’re training too hard. Find partners to do your workouts with ““ it’s more fun and keeps you honest. If you develop an injury, back off right away ““ don’t let it get bad. Adjust your workouts and see a doctor.

Nutrition and Hydration: It’s important to develop good eating and drinking habits when you exercise frequently. Remember that this is what fuels your body! On long workout days (more than 1 HR), bring snacks with you (e.g. gels, bars, dried fruit, etc.) and drink water often. Drink several quarts of water a day if you sweat a lot. Replace your lost electrolytes after exercise ““ it will help you recover faster. Dehydration is hard on your body ““ try to avoid it.
A final word: Besides being physically fit, an expedition takes a lot of preparation. You should train with all your gear (including your pack, your mountaineering clothes, boots, harness, personal gear, and so on). You should also mentally prepare ““ an expedition is always an adventure and the altitude, the weather,and the glacial environment can be very taxing at times. Be ready for the unexpected!

Posted by tammyduffy at 5:06 PM EDT
Sunday, 17 June 2018
From Kilimanjaro to Everest: how fit do you have to be to climb a mountain?


 From Kilimanjaro to Everest: how fit do you have to be to climb a mountain?





Since the commercialisation of high altitude mountaineering in the 1990s, the number of climbers has increased significantly. Mount Kilimanjaro, perhaps the most popular mountaineering trip in the world, now attracts around 40,000 climbers per year. And the number attempting summits above 8,000m (such as Mount Everest) has risen exponentially.

The main challenge for all climbers is the decrease in barometric pressure and thus reduction in oxygen availability as altitude increases. The severity of altitude is defined as low (500 to 2,000m), moderate (2,000 to 3,000m), high (3,000 to 5,500m), or extreme (above 5,500m).

Remaining at high altitudes severely affects our physical capacity, cognitive function, body mass and composition, and ability to ward off illness.

If we don’t acclimatise or stagger our ascent, we’re at greater risk of acute mountain sickness, high altitude pulmonary oedema (excess fluid in the lungs) and cerebral oedema (fluid on the brain). These illnesses are all commonly characterised by symptoms such as headache, loss of appetite, nausea, weakness, light-headedness, and sleep disturbance. The presentation of these illnesses often requires retreat to lower altitudes and in severe cases, evacuation via airlift from camp.

These conditions are among the greatest obstacles to successful summit attempts, particularly when ascending quickly.


Being fitter does not protect against altitude-related illness, nor does it ensure tolerance of the physiological challenges associated with high altitude exposure.

So acclimatisation is the more important factor. Acclimatisation is the process your body follows to adapt to the drop in oxygen availability. This is the best non-pharmaceutical strategy to prevent altitude sickness.

Mountaineers and trekkers can achieve acclimatisation by staying at moderate altitude (2,000-3,000m) for a few extra nights, then implementing a staggered ascent to higher altitudes. Gains in altitude should be between 300 and 600m of vertical elevation per day.

While many commercial trek schedules include rest days and acclimatisation days, some involving less technical climbing often ascend quite quickly. Some groups will ascend Kilimanjaro in four to five days (5,895 m).

To prepare for more rapid ascents, mountaineers may include some pre-trek acclimatisation, using natural or artificial environments to encourage their bodies to adapt.

Acclimatisation using artificial environments is known as “acclimation”. It can be achieved by either hypobaric hypoxia (normal oxygen concentration, lower barometric pressure), or more commonly via normobaric hypoxia (normal barometric pressure, lower oxygen concentration) using altitude tents or environmental chambers. 


Of the two approaches, hypobaric hypoxia appears to be better for acclimation, though it relies on access to a hypobaric chamber or an ability to live at moderate/high natural altitude.

Although still relying on specialised equipment and expertise, more environmental chambers available mimic normobaric hypoxia. In some instances, you can even use tent or mask systems in your own home.

Acclimatisation can also mitigate the effects high altitude will likely have on exercise performance.


Although fitness is not related to incidence rates of altitude sickness, trek schedules typically require many hours of hiking, often carrying a loaded pack, over at least four to five days. When combined with the gain in elevation, this means seven to eight hours per day of hiking at a moderate intensity, often over varied terrain.

So a program of targeted training will ensure trek participants are able to meet the strenuous demands of high altitude hiking and mountaineering. Evidence suggests fitter hikers report a lower sense of effort and lower levels of fatigue during high or extreme altitude trekking.


Studies have also found experienced mountaineers don’t need to expend as much oxygen, which is valuable when there’s less of it available. So to further prepare for high altitude expeditions, trek participants should focus on building fitness over several months by trekking at lower altitudes and carrying loads of 20-30kg for several hours over varied terrain.

This can be extended to higher altitudes (3,000m to 4,000m) and several consecutive days and weeks to allow for developing the strength required to tolerate the rigours of extreme mountain climbing. This is especially important as muscle mass and body fat losses occur during the expedition.

For ascents above 8,000m such as Mount Everest, the trekking company will usually have specialised training approaches. This may involve at least one year of training in which trekking time, distance and altitude are increased progressively, as summit day can take up to 20 hours. Experience in high altitude climbing and sumitting peaks between 6,000m and 8,000m is also required before attempting peaks of this altitude.

Staged ascents and considered approaches to acclimatisation are most likely to protect against altitude illness and ensure trek success. This involves using a planned approached to climbing with altitude targets allowing for acclimatisation.

Improving overall fitness and gaining mountaineering experience will prepare trekkers for the physical, psychological and technical challenges presented by high and extreme altitude adventures.





Posted by tammyduffy at 6:52 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 17 June 2018 7:11 PM EDT
Saturday, 9 June 2018
4 Elements Wellness: A Transformation Spa




4 Elements Wellness: A Life Transformational Spa



 4 Elements Wellness Center Core Principles



4 Elements Wellness Center was founded by Silvia Fedorcikova in 2017.  She believes that everyone should be able to relax, renew and immerse themselves in an elemental experience that restores them. I will tell you from first hand experience, its the best spa I have ever been to in my life. No exaggeration. 

The American dream is what has brought this amazing spa  located in the community of Princeton, NJ.  Silvia Fedorcikova was born and raised in Slovakia.  She and her now husband Stan, moved to the US when they were 21.  Together, they worked several odd jobs to ensure their ability to get their green cards and become US citizens.  Her husband Stan was working as a tile installer. After reaching a level of expertise in this field, he went into business for himself, and Galaxy Tile was born.  

Local Cryotherapy Cryo Facial 



After raising two children, Silvia decided to go back to work and find a career of her own.  She started working at the front desk at Massage Envy, and after a short period of time, was promoted to Manager.  Eventually, Silvia became the General Manager.  Five years later, Silvia joined her husband at Galaxy Tile. Together in 2013, they successfully opened their new showroom in Princeton, New Jersey.


With her busy schedule, she found out how important it is to give back to yourself in order to stay balanced, healthy and energized.  Silvia became immersed in the study and practice of alternative medicine and holistic treatments.


 During a recent visit to Europe, Silvia tried some unique therapies that are not as widespread in the US – but are definitely heading this way.  Upon her return, she began exploring how to provide these cutting-edge technologies based in ancient remedies.  Although there are places that offer one or the other, none have all in the same place.  




Her goal became to create a wellness center, with a relaxing atmosphere, that offered the latest in innovative therapies for the mind and body.  Because of her strong beliefs in these therapies, you can be sure of her commitment to the center and to each client who passes through its doors.


This spa is transformational to all those who enter.

The array of services they offer uplift your spirit, your health, your energy, your life balance.   If you are an athlete, this is your dream come true. As a mountain climber and someone who works 100 hours a week at my job, this place is my salvation! 


One of the treatments I got was the full body cyrotherapy. The maximum time you can be in the chamber is 3 minutes at -200F. The temperature can also be adjusted by client. You get to pick your jam song to listen to while you are in the chamber. The feeling you get exiting the chamber is equalivalent to a runners high after a marathon. This feeling lasts for days. You feel amazing after the 3 minute treatment.  


Whole-body cryotherapy was introduced in Japan in 1978 and subsequently worldwide. Cryotherapy is the whole-body use of extremely cold temperatures in therapy (-76° to-166°F). The term “cryotherapy” comes from the Greek words” cryo” meaning cold and “therapy” meaning cure. Cryotherapy treatment offers you better health and a faster recovery from injury. These benefits start with the reduction of inflammation, pain relief, and improved mobility. The cryotherapy process decreases cellular metabolism, increases cellular survival, decreases inflammation, decreases pain and spasm.   In the cold temperatures, the blood vessels quickly constrict forming a protective layer while the core body temperature is maintained. The process naturally stimulates blood circulation as the body’s hormone, immune, and nervous systems are activated.


  • Recovery from injuries
  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Weight loss
  • Pain relief
  • Improves appearance of cellulite
  • Eases joint pain and stiffness
  • Stress and fatigue reduction
  • Improves Skin
  • Naturally stimulates blood circulation
  • Promotes vasoconstriction and vasodilatation- leads to increased levels of oxygenated blood delivered to damaged tissues.


At 4 Elements, the Cryotherapy room is equipped with one of the Best European Cryo saunas on the market today.  Remember, this treatment takes only 3 minutes – so, stop by anytime during the day to boost your energy and RENEW yourself.   Feel an immediate difference after your first session.

As with the other therapy rooms, 4 Elements will provide everything needed – an organic cotton robe, natural felt slippers, organic cotton socks and 100% wool gloves.




One of the most astonishing aspects of cryotherapy is how many different types of medical conditions it can be beneficial in treating. From treating serious debilitating diseases such as arthritis and Fibromyalgia to the enhancement of sports performance, cryotherapy has been a valuable tool in treating a variety of conditions. This is due to the dramatic stimulation of a body’s immune response, which leads to an increase in:

  • Circulation
  • Metabolism
  • Detoxification
  • Tissue repair
  • Immune function


* * *
The lotus blossom represents rebirth and renewal. We use this as our brand’s logo to reflect the impact each one of our services offers you the opportunity to renew yourself and immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind experience. Each petal represents one of the four elements–represented by our services.


The services include:


1 session – $70.00
5 sessions – $250.00 ($50.00 per session)
10 sessions – $400.00 ($40.00 per session)

Book an Appointment

1 session – $50.00
5 sessions – $200.00 ($40.00 per session)
10 sessions – $300.00 ($30.00 per session)



Halotherapy / Himalayan Salt Therapy

1 session – $50.00

5 sessions – $200.00 ($40.00 per session)

10 sessions – $300.00 ($30.00 per session)
Floatation Therapy
1 session – $80.00
5 sessions – $350.00 ($70.00 per session)
10 sessions – $600.00 ($60.00 per session)
Clear Light Infrared Sauna Individual
1 session – $50.00
5 sessions – $225.00 ($45.00 per session)
10 sessions – $400.00 ($40.00 per session)

Clear Light Infrared Sauna Individual

1 session – $30.00

5 sessions – $125.00 ($25.00 per session)

10 sessions – $200.00 ($20.00 per session)
Low Level Light Therapy/ Celluma
1 session – $50.00
6 sessions – $240.00 ($40.00 per session)
12 sessions – $360.00 ($30.00 per session)



FIRE & ICE  $80 (Retail $100)
Infrared Sauna and Full Body Cryotherapy
Weight loss, muscle recovery, detox and beautiful skin.

BEAUTY FIRE & ICE $80 (Retail $100)
Celluma Light Therapy and Cryo Facial
Reduces appearance of lines and wrinkles, increases collagen production.

LOCAL FIRE & ICE $80 (Retail $100)
Celluma Light Therapy and Local Cryotherapy
Anti-inflammatory, helps with muscle spasms, arthritis and muscle tissue tension.

FIRE & WATER $100 (Retail $130)
Celluma Light Therapy and Floatation Therapy
Helps with muscle pain, arthritis pain, post surgical healing.

EARTH & ICE $90 (Retail $120)
Halotherapy and Full Body Cryotherapy
Addresses skin issues and is also a great anti-inflammatory treatment.

WATER & ICE $115 (Retail $150)
Floatation Therapy and Full Body Cryotherapy
Enhances mood, boosts immune functions, boosts metabolism, increases production of endorphins





Princeton Shopping Center

301 North Harrison Street, Suite 36

Princeton, New Jersey



 Call (609) 285-3115



Posted by tammyduffy at 8:49 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 9 June 2018 9:30 AM EDT
Sunday, 3 June 2018
How to Build A Successful Business





 Building a successful team is about more than finding a group of people with the right mix of professional skills. Over the course of interviewing over 500 leaders for Corner Office, I asked them all about the art of fostering a strong sense of teamwork. Their insights can help you lay the groundwork for a highly productive team that can communicate, cooperate and innovate in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.


Make a Plan

You need a clear and measurable goal for what you want to accomplish.



Hiring Well Isn't Enough

If you ask enough top executives about their leadership style, you’re likely to hear a number of them say, “I hire the best people and get out of their way.” It’s a good line that makes sense at a certain level. Hiring the right people is the most important part of building a strong team, of course, and delegating to give people more autonomy is a powerful motivator.  

But managing a team is not that simple. Leaders have to play a far more hands-on role to make sure the group works well together and remains focused on the right priorities. 

There are six main drivers for creating a strong culture of teamwork – the things that, if done well, have an outsize impact. And the insights are applicable to any team or organization, from five people to 500,000.


Create a Clear Map


Leaders owe their teams an answer to the same question that young children often ask their parents before setting out on a long drive: “Where are we going and how are we going to get there?” In other words, what is the goal and how are we going to measure progress along the way? 


And that may sound simple, but it is often one of the greatest challenges that teams, divisions and companies face. What does success look like? If you were to set up a scoreboard to track success over time, what would it measure? 


The trouble often starts when leaders start listing five or seven or 11 priorities. As Jim Collins, the author of the best-selling management books “Good to Great” and “Built to Last,” is fond of saying: “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any.” Determining these priorities and how they’re going to be measured is arguably the most important job of a team leader because most of the work that everybody does will flow from those goals. Those priorities have to be lined up as carefully as the trajectory of a rocket launch, because even the slightest miscalculation can take a team off-course over time.


Have a Shared Scoreboard


Another benefit of having a simple plan is that it creates a shared goal that will offset the tendency of people to identify themselves as part of smaller groups. Think of a football team, for example. There are many “tribes” within a team – offense and defense, linemen and receivers, running backs and defensive backs. But because the goal of the team is clear, and there’s an external scoreboard to track progress, there is a greater sense of “us” on the team than the “us and them” dynamic that can often divide colleagues in companies.


“Metrics are actually the way that you can harmonize a large number of people, whether it’s dozens or even thousands,” said Adam Nash, the former chief executive of Wealthfront, an online financial management firm, who is now an executive in residence at Greylock Partners, the venture capital firm. That way, he added, “when they’re on their own and making their own decisions, they can be empowered to make those decisions because they know they’re aligned with the rest of the company.”


In the absence of that simple, shared scoreboard, people will make up their own ways to measure their success, Mr. Nash added.


"If you have a company where everyone has their own ways of keeping score, you’ll get incessant fighting and arguments, and they’re not even arguing about what to do,” he said. “They’re arguing about how to keep score. They’re arguing about what game we’re really playing. That’s all counterproductive.”


You May Feel Like a Broken Record...


Once you have a simple plan, you have to keep reminding your team of the priorities, even if it can feel repetitive. People often have to hear something a few times before they truly remember it. Marc Cenedella, chief executive of TheLadders.com, a job search site, shared a good rule of thumb:

"You say something seven times and they haven’t heard you,” he said. “Until they start making jokes about how often you repeat it, they haven’t internalized it.” 


Rules of the Road


You’ll need a set of values, behaviors and cultural guardrails so that everybody knows how to work together.


Create Your Team's Culture


All families have values, even if they aren’t discussed explicitly.  There are certain behaviors that are encouraged and discouraged — like rules of the road — for how everyone is going to (try to) get along and spend their time.


Teams aren’t really that different. Pull together a group of  people to work on any project, and they will develop a culture of their own, and it will be as unique as the people in the group. 


As a leader, you can take a laissez-faire approach and hope the team meshes well over time. Or you can look for opportunities to set some shared guidelines for how  people will work together. 


There are no hard and fast rules for developing the cultural values of a team. In some cases, the founder of a company will issue them to employees. In others, top executives will turn the exercise over to employees to make it a bottom-up effort. 


...And Stick to It

The most important thing is for the team or company to live by their stated values, rather than just going through the motions of the exercise, with people earning promotions even though their behavior runs directly counter to the stated rules of the road. 


“I think it’s easy for people at many companies to become cynical, which then leads to politics, which can create a cancer that can topple even the greatest companies,” said Kathy Savitt, managing director at Perch Partners, a consulting firm.


A couple of other traps to avoid:


Don’t make your lists too long. Most people can’t remember more than three things day-to-day, and the lists don’t need to somehow address all potential human behavior, good and bad. Just focus on the things that feel unique to the group or organization, and are good reminders to keep everyone aligned and moving forward.


Specific is better than vague. Many lists of values share similar words, like excellence and integrity, but those broad notions can create problems of their own, said Michel Feaster of Usermind, a customer-engagement software firm. “The problem with values like respect and courage is that everybody interprets them differently,” she said. “They’re too ambiguous and open to interpretation. Instead of uniting us, they can create friction.”


Show a Little Respect


If team members don’t feel respected, they won’t be motivated to bring their best ideas — and their best selves — to work.


The Effects of a Bad Boss


Unfortunately, most of us have worked for at least one bad boss (and sometimes many of them) over the course of our careers. 


They often share many of the same bad tendencies. They don’t listen. They micro-manage. They’re not trusting. They are unresponsive.  They see employees only as pawns to help them accomplish their goals. They point fingers rather than owning their mistakes. They steal credit for the team’s accomplishments. They dress people down in front of their colleagues. The list goes on and on (sigh).


That kind of treatment puts people in a defensive crouch and they start subconsciously checking part of their self-image at the door before they go into work. And it means that if they have an out-of-the-box idea for the team, they may think twice before sharing it, out of fear it will be dismissed. In this kind of environment, innovation is hard, if not impossible.


Set the Tone


It is incredibly important for leaders to set a tone, and model the behavior, that everyone will respect one another. 


Robin Domeniconi, chief executive of Thread Tales, a fashion company, told me at the time of our interview that she used the expression “M.R.I.” as a cornerstone of culture. 


M.R.I. means the ‘most respectful interpretation’ of what someone’s saying to you,” she said. “I don’t need everyone to be best friends, but I need to have a team with M.R.I. So you can say anything to anyone, as long as you say it the right way. Maybe you need to preface it with, ‘Can you help me understand why you don’t want to do this, or why you wanted to do this?’”


John Duffy, chief executive of the mobile-technology company 3Cinteractive, said he established a zero-tolerance policy for disrespectful behavior. 


"We have absolutely clear discussions with everyone about how respect is the thing that cannot be messed with in our culture,” he said. “When we have problems with somebody gossiping, or someone being disrespectful to a superior or a subordinate, or a peer, it is swarmed on and dealt with. We make everyone understand that the reason the culture works is that we have that respect. There is a comfort level and a feeling of safety inside our business.”


It's About the Team


A team is stronger when everybody delivers on their individual roles.



Accountability Goes Both Ways

Treating people with respect is part of a two-way street to help foster teamwork. At the same time, leaders also need to hold everyone on their team accountable for their work and role on the team. In effect, it’s a simple bargain that leaders can offer their employees: “I’ll treat you well, but we’re also going to be clear about the work you’re expected to contribute.”

At many companies, this culture of accountability is discussed explicitly. “I hold people accountable for everything that comes out of their mouth,” said Steve Stoute, chief executive of Translation LLC, an advertising and marketing firm. “Don’t say you’re going to do something and not do it, because in a company of this size, everybody is directly responsible for the person next to them.”

If You Say It, Do It

Brett Wilson, chief executive of TubeMogul, a video advertising software company, uses a smart phrase to signal the importance of being reliable at this company. 

“It’s a culture where we value the people who do what they say — they have a high ‘do-to-say ratio,’” he said. “You just need people who follow through, and it’s a lot more fun when the people you work with do that. You can count on them, and you can get by with fewer layers of management, and communication flows faster.”

Tobi Lütke, chief executive of Shopify, an e-commerce software company, developed a clever metaphor of a “trust battery” to signal to employees that everything they do can help or hurt their reputation for reliability. 

“Every time you work with someone at the company, the trust battery between the two of you is either charged or discharged, based on things like whether you deliver on what you promise,” he explained. “Humans already work like this. It’s just that we decided to create a metaphor so that we can talk about this in performance reviews without people feeling like the criticisms are personal.”



Have Conversations

Difficult discussions aren’t anyone’s idea of fun — but they are necessary for running a successful team. 



Stay On Your Side of the Net

A big part of holding people accountable for their work is a willingness to have frank discussions about problems and misunderstandings that inevitably arise among colleagues. 

But the fact is that most managers go out of their way to avoid these “adult conversations.” It’s understandable. They can be unpleasant, and most people would rather deliver good news instead of bad. Also, you never quite know how somebody’s going to react to feedback. That is why problems are often swept under the rug, and maybe dealt with months later in an annual performance review.

One of the smartest tips for having such conversations is to make sure you “don’t go over the net.” 

It means you should never make statements that include assumptions about the motivations behind someone’s behavior. Instead, you should stay on your side of the net and talk only about what you’re observing and your own reactions and feelings. That way, it’s harder for people to get their back up because you’re not devising rationales to explain someone else’s behavior. 

Consider, for example, the small but important difference in approaches in the following paragraph: 

  • "I’ve noticed you keep showing up 20 minutes late, and it seems like you don’t care." The boss has gone over the net here and accused the person of not caring. 
  • "I’ve noticed you keep showing up 20 minutes late, and it makes me feel like you don’t care." Here, with just a small language tweak, the boss is staying on the right side of the net, and avoided an overheated conversation because the employee can’t argue about how someone feels.

This approach was first described to me by Andrew Thompson, the chief executive of Proteus Digital Health, who said he uses it as a counterweight to a natural tendency of human beings.

“People concoct all this imaginary garbage about why the person is doing this to them when in fact the person may not even realize that they’re doing anything,” Mr. Thompson said.

Set Expectations for Feedback

How often people give feedback is just as important as how they deliver it. Some leaders tell their employees upfront that they are going to give them frequent feedback. That way, employees are not so alarmed when the feedback comes, and they’re more open to hearing it and acting on it.

“A lot of bad patterns happen when you go for really long periods without giving people feedback, and it just bottles up,” said Seth Besmertnik, chief executive of Conductor, a search engine optimization company. “They’re so used to not getting any feedback that when they get it, it’s this huge deal. If you get into a rhythm of giving feedback, they get used to it.”  

He added: “Having those good conversations is really 80 percent of being an effective manager.”

The Hazards of Email

This last point may not seem as big a deal as the others, but email can have a corrosive effect on culture. 

The problem starts because emails often lack the tone and context to clearly signal what the sender is thinking. So a straightforward email can get misinterpreted, create anxiety or trigger an angry response. As a result, email can often damage the connective tissue that forms relationships among colleagues rather than help build it up. 

“If there’s a conflict and you need to resolve it, you cannot really do it in an email because people don’t know tone,” said Nancy Aossey, chief executive of the nonprofit International Medical Corps. “They don’t know expression. Even if they like you and they know you, they might not know if you were irritated or joking in an email.”

The problems really begin when people start an argument over email, she added: “Arguing over email is about having the last word. It plays into something very dangerous in human behavior. You want to have the last word, and nothing brings that out more than email because you can sit there and hit ‘send,’ and then it just kind of ratchets up and you don’t have the benefit of knowing the tone.”

Many leaders are aware of the dangers of email, and are explicit about the rules they expect people to follow. For example, a disagreement should never extend beyond two emails. After that, you have to pick up the phone, or do something potentially out of the ordinary — get up from your desk and go talk to your colleague in person. 

Simple ... in Theory

If there is one overarching theme that threads through most of the points covered in this guide, it is that most problems on teams can be solved by colleagues being up front with each other, and having respectful, frank conversations face-to-face. 

That sounds simple, but just as with the art of distilling complex goals into a clear, three-point strategy, simple is often very hard. 



Posted by tammyduffy at 5:30 PM EDT
Sunday, 27 May 2018
Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking
 Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking

The acclaimed American artist Frank Stella (born 1936) is renowned for his career-long innovations in abstraction in a variety of media. In addition to his early minimalist work, from the late 1950s and 1960s, and his later efforts to disrupt the accepted norms of painting, Stella made groundbreaking achievements in the print medium, combining printmaking processes, mining new sources for imagery, and expanding the technical capacity of the press.

Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking focuses on a revolutionary period in the artist’s printmaking career, between 1984 and 1999, when Stella executed four ambitious print series, each of which was named after a distinct literary work: the Passover song Had Gadya, a compilation of Italian folktales, the epic American novel Moby-Dick, and the illustrated The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. In the four series titled after these sources, Stella created prints of unprecedented scale and complexity, transforming his own visual language—as well as his working process in all media—and reaching a technical and expressive milestone in printmaking.

Featuring forty-one prints from these four major series alongside their literary catalysts, Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking will be the first exhibition to focus exclusively on the vital role that world literature played in his powerful exploration of the print medium.

The exhibition catalogue, published by the Princeton University Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press, illustrates each of the works on view and affords a revelatory examination of the role of literature in the development of Frank Stella’s artistic practice.



Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking has been made possible with generous support from the Barr Ferree Foundation Fund for Publications, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University; the Andrew W. Mellon Publications Fund; the National Endowment for the Arts; Preston H. Haskell, Class of 1960; the Douglas A. Hirsch and Holly S. Andersen Family Foundation; Susan and John Diekman, Class of 1965; the Julis Rabinowitz Family; Theodora D. Walton, Class of 1978, and William H. Walton III, Class of 1974; Stacey Roth Goergen, Class of 1990, and Robert B. Goergen; Nancy A. Nasher, Class of 1976, and David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976; and William S. Fisher, Class of 1979, and Sakurako Fisher, through the Sakana Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Judith and Anthony B. Evnin, Class of 1962, Exhibitions Fund; the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; the Allen R. Adler, Class of 1967, Exhibitions Fund; Lynn and Robert F. Johnston, Class of 1958; Ivy Lewis; Blair Moll, Class of 2010, through the Bagley and Virginia Wright Foundation; and the Partners of the Princeton University Art Museum.

Posted by tammyduffy at 10:30 AM EDT
Sunday, 20 May 2018
Eyelash Fibers To The Rescue
Women who have to take chemotherapy will at times lose their eyelashes or eyebrowns. But ladies, do not fret.  There are amzaing products out there that do mot break the bank.  Eyelash extensions can cost over $300 and only last 3 to 4 weeks.
False eyelashes serve a purpose but are a royal pain in the neck to apply. This also holds true for the new tricky magnetic eyelashes that are available.  They are even more difficult to put on. 
I went to Walgreens and purchased a product by Wet and Wild, fiber mascara. It lengthened my sparse lashes and it’s so simple to put on. Just put on the mascara, immediately follow with the fibers (don’t allow lashes to dry) and then another coat of mascara and viola! Lashes to envy! No flaking or raccoon eyes. I have a friend who has extensions and she was in awe that I got such great results for way cheaper than what she paid. Definitely a new favorite for me and the price is fantastic! 

The cosmetic company Too Faced also has developed an alternative to fake eyelashes with its Better Than False Lashes extension system. The system is also a 3-step program designed to increase eyelash volume and length.

To create the appearance of false lashes, the system requires you to apply a base coat, nylon lash fibers and a sealer.

Serum Details

Too Faced makes its serum without glue, and it takes 3 steps to create longer eyelashes. The gold tube contains the system’s activating base and sealer while the white tube features the product’s nylon fibers. According to the company, the serum increases eyelash length by up to 42% and eyelash volume by 98%.

Is it Safe?

Too Faced has ordered safety tests by ophthalmologists to approve the product for those who wear contact lenses. [1]

A few users reported problems. Specifically, the product irritated their eyes and caused them to water. Eyelash sticking is another problem reported by several users, but one person noted she was able to eliminate the issue by giving each layer the proper amount of drying time. [2]

User Tips

The first step is to prepare your eyelashes by applying the activating base. Begin from the base of your lashes and extend to their tip. Use slow, steady strokes. Next, shape your lashes with the system’s nylon fiber product.

Continue using slow, steady application strokes. Start building your lashes at their base and extend to the tip. During the forming process with the nylon fibers, do not shake the wand. For most people, a single sweeping motion provides the best results.

The fibers are visible while you are applying them. Sealing is the last step, and to complete this action, you’ll use the activating base once again. The base substance binds the layers together. Use one slow, steady stroke to pull the activating base through your lashes.

Begin at the base and extend out to the tip. Make sure the base covers the fibers completely. If you want more lash volume, repeat steps 2 and 3.

Both products work great. However, the Too Faced serum is more expensive than most over-the-counter products, so if it doesn’t work to your satisfaction, then it may not be worth the extra cost. I would advise you to give  the Wet and Wild product a try first, for a cost of $7.50.  The cost of Too Faced product is $35.00.  

There are numerous eyebrown products that work in the same manner. Gel eyeliners or powders I have found work the best to make you feel like a woman again!


Posted by tammyduffy at 1:53 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 20 May 2018 2:06 PM EDT
Sunday, 13 May 2018



Why Creativity Matters



I will start this from speaking from the heart. I want start by quoting from the Celtic prayer of approach. It is a beautiful way to approach anything.  It’s a prayer for when you are approaching a new situation, and this is the heart you want to go into that situation with.  We are always in approach in our lives. In this weird transitory planet we are in.  We are in always in a state of approach.


“ I will honor your Gods, I will drink from your well, I bring an undefended heart to our meeting place, I will not negotiate it by withholding. I have no cherished outcomes, I am not subject to disappoint.”


We cannot be disappointed unless we have a cherished outcome. So disappointment as hard as it is, is important for growth. This way of walking through the world in this constant state of approach in everything you are doing, in everything you are making, everyone you are meeting, everything that is coming at you is critical.


When people are allowed to approach you, they have to take their shoes off. The only people who will have a problem with you setting boundaries are those people who were happy when you had none. There is a phrase, the arrogance of belonging, from poet David Whyte. What is means is when we find the “tribe” that speaks to us, we can call on the arrogance of belonging to gather enough courage to knock on the door. The irony is that when we express our particular way of being in the world, we notice a whole tribe of folks who are enlivened by many of the same things. The things you know before you hear them, those are you, those are why you’re in the world.


It takes courage to let your soul speak and courage to find the team you know you belong to. It takes the arrogance of belonging. And because belonging to that particular team is the right place for you to be, it’s vitally important that you find the courage to bring your gifts to the table.  When you do that,  you will find that you are resonating, vibrating with a potent energy, and that nothing can stop you in those powerful moments of belonging and certainty about yourself and your team.  Don’t hold back. Don’t let others silence you.

We have to make a conscious effort every day to choose the path of curiosity vs the path of fear. That is leadership. These are the only two paths that exist. This fork in the road…if we stay on the path of curiosity our lives become a work of art. So it does not matter what you make, what matters is a standard of living that you make a habit of following this path every day. We are always told to follow our passions.


Curiosity is an inquisitive tiny touch that can be done every day.  If you live your life in this manner, you can build great things this way.



Imagine what would have happened if the Titanic had not struck an iceberg and sunk on her maiden voyage. Her reputation as an “unsinkable” ship would have been reinforced. Imagine further that she had returned to England and continued to cross and recross the North Atlantic without incident. Her success would have been evident to everyone and competing steamship companies would have wanted to model their new ships after her.


Indeed, they would have wanted to build even larger ships— and they would have wanted to build them more cheaply and sleekly. There would have been a natural trend toward lighter and lighter hulls, and fewer and fewer lifeboats. Of course, the latent weakness of the Titanic’s design would have remained, in her and her imitators. It would have been only a matter of time before the position of one of them coincided with an iceberg and the theretofore unimaginable occurred.


The tragedy of the Titanic prevented all that from happening. It was her failure that revealed the weakness of her design. The tragic failure also made clear what should have been obvious— that a ship should carry enough lifeboats to save all the lives on board. Titanic’s sinking also pointed out the foolishness of turning off radios overnight, for had that not been common practice with the new technology, nearby ships may have sped to the rescue.


A success is just that—a success. It is something that works well for a variety of reasons, not the least of which may be luck. But a true success often works precisely because its teams thought first about failure. Indeed, one simple definition of success might be the obviation of failure.


As humans we are often called upon to design, fix and build something that has never been tried before. 


So grab your creativity, like you are repairing  a car, all the while going 70mph. We will figure it out. Nothing ever stops. Some days we are trying to change a tire while we are driving the car.  But, this is how we succeed.  We have to push ourselves to do the unthinkable every day. When we do, the outcomes can be quite amazing. 

Posted by tammyduffy at 6:41 PM EDT
Sunday, 29 April 2018
Six Fixes To Better Climbing Performance


Six Fixes To Better Climbing Performance

The quickest way to enhance your performance in almost anything is to improve the quality of your thinking.

This is definitely true in climbing whether you’re working a high-ball boulder problem, sport route, multi-pitch traditional line, or alpine route.

All performance operates from the inside-out–your beliefs, focus, emotions, and confidence form the foundation from which you will either succeed or fail.

While off-season strength training and year-round technique training are paramount for progressing into the higher grades, during the climbing season your biggest breakthroughs will come from toning and flexing your mental muscle. To this end, I have outlined below six mental strategies and skills that will help elevate your performance and enjoyment.

Practice them with the same dedication and resolve as you would a new strength training program, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. Obtain the greatest payoff by applying these skills all the time, not just when you feel like it. For some, an almost instant breakthrough will follow on the rock, while others will need to persist and let these mental skills build to a critical value before they will produce a noticeable impact in your climbing.

(This depends upon the current degree of “tone” or “atrophy” of your mental muscle.”) Recognize that these six mental training skills are interlaced and can produce a powerful synergy when all are in practice. In aggregate, they may produce an effect similar to unloading a 10-pound weight from your back that you have unknowingly been hauling up climbs. I call this using your “mental wings.”

1. Separate your self-image from your performance.
Unfortunately, when your self-image is tied too strongly or singly to this role, it translates to an overwhelming need to perform perfectly every time in order to prove your worth in that role and, thus, as a person. The subsequent pressure can become stifling and is maybe the single greatest cause of frustration in this sport (or in any endeavor).

Human beings perform best in a process-oriented, not outcome-oriented, frame of mind. Detaching your self-image from your climbing performance allows you to enjoy climbing regardless of the outcome. More importantly, it liberates you to try new things, take chances or, say, throw a dyno that might be required to get through a crux sequence. Bottom line: self-image detachment will reduce pressure and anxiety and, paradoxically, you’ll climb better by not needing to!

2. Surround yourself with positive people.
There is an aura or influence that surrounds each of us and its effects are based on our personality and attitude towards life and its events. Your thoughts and actions will affect the thoughts and actions of those around you, and vice versa. As I see it, there are three options-either climb alone, climb with upbeat and positive people, or climb with cynical and negative people. Why would you ever want to climb with the “complainers” out there? Their negative aura impacts your climbing and enjoyment whether you recognize it or not. Vow to either climb with positive individuals or by yourself-both can be hugely rewarding. However, if pushing your limits is the goal du jour, then take advantage of the synergy afforded to you by having creative, motivating and positive people on your side.

3. Stretch your comfort zone.
To improve in anything, your goals must exceed your current grasp and you must be willing to push beyond your comfort zone in your reach. In performing on the vertical plain, this means climbing onward despite mental and physical discomfort; it means challenging your fears head on by doing what you fear; it means attempting what looks impossible to you through your current set of “glasses.” Through this process, you stretch the envelope to a new dimension and reshape your personal vision of what is possible.

4. Assess and proactively manage your risk.
Climbing is an activity with obvious inherent risks, and the desire to climb harder requires taking additional risks. These risks can come in the form of obvious physical danger such as a potentially injurious fall or as invisible mental risks like opening yourself up to failure, criticism and embarrassment. It’s interesting to note that for some climbers the physical danger feels more benign than the aforementioned mental dangers. Consider the climber who continues upward on a horrendously dangerous route he’s not prepared for because he’s afraid of being dissed by those standing safely on the ground!

Make it your goal to always assess the range of possible risks before you ever start a climb. By objectively analyzing the risks ahead of time, you’ll often be able to lower the risk of the climb (e.g. taking other gear or rigging a belay differently than you normally would) and, at the least, be aware and able to respond to the most critical risks as you climb. As for the mental risks, see Mental Wings Strategy #1.

5. Fortify your confidence.
Your degree of self-confidence is primarily based on your self-image and the thoughts you hold minute-by-minute and day-by-day. Thoughts of falls or poor performance in the past and self-talk loaded with words like “I can’t”, “don’t”, “possibly”, and “try”, lower confidence and are the seeds of failure. Conversely, focusing on past successes by actually visualizing and feeling the process and exhilaration of positive action leads to tremendous feelings of confidence. Using visualization throughout the day, everyday, to re-live great events in your past–climbing and non-climbing–is the best way to reshape and fortify your self-confidence for success in all future endeavors.

6. Be happy regardless of situations and outcomes.
Superior traits of all real winners is resilience to bad results and/or criticism, and unwavering belief that success will come with time, effort and patience. Attitude is the wild card in the “climbing performance equation” that can often compensate for what you are lacking in strength, technique or reach. I can’t understate the importance of always having fun. We all get into climbing because we love the outdoor experience and the feeling of moving over stone, yet in time far too many climbers become Grinches who have fun only when they are winning.

The biggest secret for better climbing is to love climbing unconditionally. Vow that any day of climbing is a great day regardless of the results, and you will usually get the results you desire.

In my years as a climber, perhaps the biggest breakthrough occurred when I realized that almost all the mental skills and strategies I learned through climbing could be applied to other areas in my life. (Read the first line of the 6 tips above–don’t they all apply equally well to your non-climbing life?) I believe the process of climbing reveals the ultimate metaphors for life and, if you transfer the many lessons and mental skills to other areas of your life, you’ll ignite breakthroughs there as well. I wish you the best on the rock and in your pursuit of your own personal Mount Everest!

Posted by tammyduffy at 5:18 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 29 April 2018 5:23 PM EDT

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