The Happiness Quotient

#74 - Followed By the Ghost of Sandy Irvine While Training for Everest & The Inspiration of My Mentor Bradford Washburn

March 31, 2021 Thom Pollard Season 3 Episode 74
The Happiness Quotient
#74 - Followed By the Ghost of Sandy Irvine While Training for Everest & The Inspiration of My Mentor Bradford Washburn
Show Notes Transcript

This recap episode recounts the inspiration for this podcast coming into existence. While training for Mount Everest in April of 2019, my daily routine would include a strong hike up into Tuckerman or Huntington Ravine on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, USA. Many times I felt the presence of something, someone. Looking back, I believe that the essence of Sandy Irvine, who disappeared on Mount Everest on June 8 in 1924, was asking for assistance. As our expedition set out to locate Sandy, last seen at over 28,000 feet 'headed for the top', I have always believed that his soul had not yet been freed from the mountain. 

I introduce my mentor, Bradford Washburn, who inspired me so deeply in all of my endeavors, and share an interview that I conducted with him in 2001, he at the sprightly age of 91. 

This is my introduction to The Happiness Quotient (identical to Episode #3), re-vamped here as an introduction or as a refresher course to the ultimate inspiration for following one's dreams & passions.


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For more information about Thom Dharma Pollard:
http://eyesopenproductions.com/

For a free downloadable copy of A Course In Happiness:
www.patreon.com/thehappinessquotient

Our theme song, Happiness Jones, appears courtesy of The Wood Brothers.

For more information about The Wood Brothers:
https://www.thewoodbros.com/

The Wood Brothers on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTvWKQovDZlLceuct1EEMMQ

Happiness Jones video can be seen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKIoiVWwF5A

For more about Thom Dharma Pollard, about personal coaching or his inspirational presentations, virtual or in person, find him at: 
www.eyesopenproductions.com

To join his mailing list for The Happiness Quotient, email him at [email protected]


Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehappinessquotient)
Thom Pollard:

This is the happiness quotient. Have you heard of a course in happiness? In this short colorful guide filled with beautiful adventure photography? The easy to read guide suggests that we stop chasing happiness in our path toward unlocking the mysteries to life's big questions. It offers a few guideposts to contemplate, and to put to use in your daily life. Go to patreon.com slash the happiness quotient, where you'll find a free pdf download of a course in happiness.

The Wood Brothers:

all of my wisdom came from all the toughest days i never learned a thing bein happy all of my sufferin came i didnt appreciate it I never learned a thing bein happy

Thom Pollard:

Welcome to the happiness quotient on Thom Pollard. When I started this podcast, it was called Baker Street with Thom Pollard. We've since changed the name to better reflect its intent to the happiness quotient. Today's episode is the third ever episode I produced shortly after which I departed from Mount Everest. This episode is a good depiction of what we endeavour to explore

The Wood Brothers:

had a dragon to tame to be happy

Thom Pollard:

If this is your first time listening. Welcome. All I ask is that you give a listen to two or three full episodes before you decide if you like it or not.

The Wood Brothers:

that old dragons gonna come back mad I got a happiness jones so badHappiness Jones

Thom Pollard:

Thank you for being here. And now. Episode Number three. I am now presenting to you our third installment of Baker Street with Thom Pollard and wow, a to have come and gone so fast. And anybody who was here on the third must be a devotee, and just ready to dive in and hear the cool stuff. I'm calling this one my musings of Mount Everest. And as many of you do not know yet, I'm about to depart on an expedition to Mount Everest, it will be my fourth expedition there in 20 years. My first expedition was in 1999 went to the north side in Tibet as a high altitude camera man for a PBS Nova documentary, which was a co production with the BBC. And that was huge that really opened my eyes to the world at large and my place in not only in the world of climbing and but in a lot of ways. I learned a lot of things about myself. And that came as a result of fracturing in the team, of sorts in in disagreements on the way certain things should be handled. And I am going to save the real details of that for a future installment. But for now, the idea is that we gain knowledge through experience. And when we see someone that we deem to be suffering or going through hardships, those people are having experiences through which they gain wisdom. And we've all been in difficult places in our lives. We've all had hardship lost people that we love to have relationships and maybe lost a job or had something stolen from us that we loved or had a fracture in a friendship and things of that nature that caused us to suffer, or at least go to a deeper place of thought and reflection that made us see the world in a different light. For instance, even though this was more recently, in 2016, as I was considering and contemplating an offer to go film, a documentary on Mount Everest, my mom became very ill. And in the course of about a week she went from somebody who was very engaged and, and bubbly, almost to passing over. And in the moment of her passing, the interesting thing was, is that I felt as though there was so much clarity in that moment. Although, indeed I was sad, or felt the loss of a living being that was in my presence. There was such clarity that I almost sat back in awe of the beauty of it. So my sister who was with me at the time, it was about three or so in the morning, and we were in the the main front room downstairs in my mom's house in Maine. And instead of calling someone or instead of getting busy doing things that one does, when their mom loses, passes over, we sat on either side of my mom, and talked for three hours, and just basked in her presence and, and loved her, and allowed that moment to, to linger. And there was a lot of beauty in it, because my sister and I had an incredible conversation that went from joy and laughter to tears to disagreement in certain things, talking about how each of us had chosen to live our lives and everything. So what I'm getting down to the bottom of in some respect is that there's a lot of clarity in our suffering or our hardships. And when we look at someone who is going through a hardship and think, oh, that poor person, we're judging them, we're actually looking upon them as somebody who is not equal to us, and we're all equal, we're all beings have the exact same level. There's no caste system in, in the world that was created before religion, or before differences are between before politics. And so when somebody is suffering, and we feel pity or sorrow or sadness, we are in fact, actually sharing judgment upon them. And that's a negative energy. It's not that we don't care or that we don't have any sensitivity to what their needs might be in that moment. But when you think about it, there is some negative aspect to feeling pity or sadness. Oh, that's so sad, or that's so tragic. But in that moment, that human being is gaining experience and actually gaining in wisdom. So as I said, I'm departing in a very short amount of time to go on my fourth expedition to Mount Everest and I'll be returning to the the north to the Tibet China side. I'm very, very excited about it, and will endeavor to share with you some social media posts and and thoughts and musings, whether it's on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, and I hope you'll look for me, and find me there if you can. And one of the ways that you'll do that is you can go to my website, eyes open productions.com. So I'm going to start today by telling you that I'm going to introduce you to one of my mentors who passed over 10 years ago. His name is Bradford Washburn. He was a man who showed me great kindness and shared with me much of his knowledge and helped me grow from an impulsive, over eager adventurer, camera man to somebody who became more thoughtful and and planning in my endeavors. And Brad was a good friend as well. And I'm very blessed that he became a part of my life. And one of the places Brad loved to the most was Mount Washington. In New Hampshire, it's the highest point in the northeast at 6288 feet. He was a young boy of who had a fever, allergies and when he went hiking up on Mount Washington, he found that when he went up higher his hay fever, symptoms disappeared immediately. And he fell in love with mountains and all things mountain climbing and became a great cartographer, an adventurer, mountain climber, but one of the things that he was the best at was sharing his knowledge of the world. So as I do that, I'm going to share with you some of my musings, as I train for Mount Everest that I recorded while hiking up the Tuckerman ravine, and Huntington ravine trails to get my workout in, if you will. So, maybe I can give you a feel of what it's like to be on Mount Washington and maybe if you have hay fever, maybe it will disappear as well. Bluebird conditionson this Huntington ravine trail, probably 34 degrees out and still not really any wind or breeze worth noting. It's great to be able to hike in late winter, early spring with light gloves and thinner layers with the contingency for keeping warm to be getting your body moving and generating a little bit of heat via exercise. Which I've been asked what I wore on summit dayon Mount Everest in 2016.And I wore a down suit and thin layer of long underwear on my legs as well along underwear top, probably medium weight. Not was it on my hands I were on the glove layering system where the inner layer was a thin fleece type fabric that you might wear, you know cross country skiing or something. And outside of that was the shell of a pair of gloves from which I had taken the inner liner out. That was a very thick, fleecy interior and it worked perfectly. Now I'd like to say that there's no such thing as cheating on something like this because keeping your fingers and toes intact is pretty important. As we pass by gorgeous little stream slowly slowly building its force and speed and more and more exposed as the snow and ice melts above it. But inside my gloves, each hand I had a heat packet that I opened up when I was booting up in my tent

Unknown:

and I also put a heat packet inside the toe of each boot on the top of my foot and then generating heat in the 12 hours round trip from high Camp 26,000 feet to the summit and back. I was just fine. The only time I got a little chilly was when we stopped on the summit for about 30 minutes. Okay, so 5075 feet ahead of me. There was a guy moving really slowly. And my disease is I can't relax when somebody is ahead of me. So I just turned the gas on gone dusted by the looks of the amount of snot pouring out of his nose. I need to rehydrate later to get I'm almost at hobbit corner and it's right around here I swear. I always feel like I can use somebody walking with me and I don't doubt me someone's got a message for me wants me to know some things I saw beautiful sometimes chases sometimes I moved to tears out here. And maybe I'm better off not trying to articulate just what it is that I'm feeling inside. That's what this podcast is all about. dot dot process thrifted the stuff that worries me Ah, no, no. MUSIC

Bradford Washburn:

Over the years I've written quite a number of articles in the American Alpine journal with lots of illustrations and showing routes that I as a climber with considerable experience. Know I think can be caught. But haven't been quite.

Thom Pollard:

The voice that you just heard was of Bradford Washburn. I call him my mentor and friend and he took me under his wing and shared with me much of his knowledge and enthusiasm for the world from mountain climbing for adventure. And one of the things that I look back on knowing Brad as giving him his greatest quality was that he shared everything he knew. He gave it away freely. He was an open book. anytime anybody would come forward asking for something from him he would give it and many mountain years, many, many mountaineers around the world have basked in Brad's enthusiasm, while asking him about routes on say Denali and Alaska or other routes that had been unclimbed in Alaska. And Brad would share with them his his idea of how it might be possible for them to accomplish that. So eager mountaineers from all around the world would email him that's when email actually existed. But back in the day before email in the earlier 90s, or 80s, or 70s, or 60s, it would be on a phone call. Brad actually talked to me one time about calling Sir Edmund Hillary up and waking him up in the middle of the night because that Hillary is over was over in New Zealand, which is actually I think only a six or seven hour time difference. But waking Ed Hillary up and in the middle of the night to ask a burning question, which now I can't even remember, but to Brad at the time, dammit, when it was a question that he needed answered, he would pick that phone up and bang, he would call somebody up.

Bradford Washburn:

Well, you know, this, this is like putting a sirloin steak out in front of a hungry dog. You know perfectly well, the next year is Alpine journal have a story by somebody climbing one of those roots. And I've always been fascinated to see whether the route that I picked up, made sense to them when they got on the ground. And this is particularly true. After you let's say you get over 55 or 60. And you're unlikely likely to be doing state difficult climbing. And I had quite a number of claims. It sort of in my hip pocket that I didn't want to talk to other people about until I was sure I wasn't going to be able to do it. And then I began sort of pressuring these claims out one by one and watching getting enormous amount of amount of vicarious pleasure saying that the route really did work.

Thom Pollard:

Many people asked Brad over the years what his greatest accomplishment was expecting perhaps that he would say the founding of the Boston Museum of Science one of the greatest learning museums in the world, a standout among, among science museums in the world, where Brad single handedly raised the money to actually buy the plot of land where that museum stands today and building it from the ground up. He was a great cartographer, he mapped Everest, he mapped Denali, he mapped the Grand Canyon, he was an aerial photographer unmatched anywhere around the world friends with ancel atoms and sought out by National Geographic for aerial surveys of the glaciers and mountains of Alaska. And also, he did aerial surveys over Mount Everest when he was making the map. But Brad's would always say his greatest accomplishment was marrying his wife, Barbara, who was indeed one of the most remarkable and lovely and kind and wonderful women that one could ever meet. And Brad was mush in her presence. And he would speak about her with such fondness and how she was the greatest accomplishment having married her was the greatest accomplishment ever. Kind of a funny story. One time Brad was a Harvard graduate. And Brad was kind of showing off one day in a conversation talking about oh, well, you know, yes, of course, when I was in Harvard back in the 1930s. And, you know, we Harvard graduates and this and that, and Barb was like, Oh, they let anybody into Harvard back then and Brach shrugged his shoulders, and laughed, it was like, she just brought him back down to earth, because he was bigger than he was bigger than life. But Barb brought him back down to earth in such a loving and kind way.

Bradford Washburn:

Well, Barbara, and I done everything together for a little bit over 52 years, and play aside from being my constant companion. And an inspiration that as a person, in all this period of time, she is has done an enormous amount of recording of angles, I would be working with an instrument to see. And today this, this is on tape, but not in the old days, it wasn't. So I would have to give her the angles, and she'd put them in the angle book. And this sometimes was very, very cold. It's been wonderful having her on all these trips. And I think that her presence has added added a great deal to the morale of the people on the trips. Because wherever she's been on a larger expedition, she's been the only girl that was involved. And this, I think, helps everything a great deal.

Thom Pollard:

Brad, and I didn't get to know each other until more or less the latter stages of his life, he was probably already in his 80s. When I met him, when he passed over, he was 96. And that was, I believe, in January of 2006, when he passed over, and I was so blessed to have the opportunity to spend some time with him just a day or two before he passed, and he was still active and trying to get out of his bed and, you know, bounce around and everything. And but but I was very curious about what he believed was the important thing that he would hope he left as his legacy. And when he speaks of this, it's a really beautiful thing, because it's something that we can all take upon ourselves to think about what are what are we leaving behind? Is it to be the best at something or the greatest or the most popular or most famous or the richest or whatever? And Brad's Brad's common thread to his life's work. And his legacy was always very easy for him to answer. When you get snuggling up toward the end of your life, which anybody who was a two has to be thinking about, then you tend to look back and say, was there anything that that sort of pulls it all together? And the word I get out of this is sharing. And this applies to the Museum of Science, as well as all my photography and all my mapmaking. Very few people are going to climb Mount McKinley. 1000 people a year, are trying to claim that right now, about a half of them get out. But in terms of the whole population, this is nothing at all. And so that most of the people you're talking to will never have the experience you're talking about. So you have to measure it, when you describe it, in terms that they can understand. And this has been really great fun. And I think that you would most of the people who have been on these climbs would agree with me that the saying that made the climb fun was the fact we were trying to do something to create something that would make other people interested in happy rather than just getting up there and enjoying what we did our show. This shearing doesn't just apply to lectures, photographs, stories, it It also applies to arm is in the science, because indeed what it is doing is sharing exciting, interesting science information to large large numbers of people. And if I were asked why we did the museum and did all this work raised all this money, I would say this is it. It's a very exciting thing. To share the thrill of discovery, there is nothing for my money so exciting as to see the eyes of a four year old kid when that kid discovered something for the first time. It's a thrilling as theirs. It was for Neil Armstrong to land on the moon. Hot tea,

Unknown:

sugar, no milk. Well, that tea was just what the doctor ordered. It's time to get back down to the car to the valley to the cabin in the woods. cook up some grub with my boys. Thank you Matt Washington in Huntington ravine for giving me your quiet splendor and beauty and for bathing me in aeons of wisdom and thank you for the silence which I'm sure the listeners are thinking to please be quiet.

Thom Pollard:

We've heard off and this podcast now. Thank you to the wood brothers in their management for the use of their song happiness Jones for our theme song here on the happiness quotient. If you'd like a free downloadable PDF of the happiness quotient, a course in happiness, visit me at patreon.com slash the happiness quotient for more information about me to inquire about personal coaching or public speaking whether in person or virtually please visit eyes open productions.com and write me anytime at Tom dot Dharma dot [email protected]

The Wood Brothers:

I got a happiness happiness Jones

Thom Pollard:

Thank you for visiting the happiness quotient. I will see you all real soon.

The Wood Brothers:

all of my answers came driving myself insane I had a dragon to tame to be happy all of my peace and quiet came from putting out fire I keep a spark alive to be happy that old dragons gonna come back mad I got a happiness jones so badHappiness Jones Happy Happy Happy Happiness Jones Im not sick Im not alone we all got itHappiness Jones all of those words I wrote in the storm that rocked my boat all of that was stuck in my throat when I was happy all of those songs I was singin while my boat was sinkin next thing im thinkin' im happy i might as well change my name to Happiness jones my friend.Happiness Jones Happy, happy, happy. Happy, Happy. Happy. Happy. Happy. Happy. Happy. Happy. Happy.