Greetings to you all - this is a special edition of the HQ. In April I had the honor of doing an Instagram Live event with my old friend Renan Ozturk to talk about Everest, creativity, filmmaking and, yup, nutrition in the mountains. I mean, we’re talking to a guy who used to sustain on candy bars and Ramen and coffee at altitude.
The event was hosted by one of our 2019 Sandy Irvine Search Expedition sponsors, Good To-Go foods, the ultimate in dehydrated backpacking food.
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This is the happiness quotient. Greetings to you all. This is a special edition of the HQ. In April I had the honor of doing an Instagram Live event with my old friend Renault oz Turk. To talk about Everest creativity, filmmaking and nutrition in the mountains. Go figure. I mean, we're talking about a guy who used to sustain on candy bars, ramen and coffee at altitude. That's me. The event was hosted by one of our 2019 Sandy Urban Search expedition sponsors. Good to go foods, the ultimate in dehydrated backpacking food. We love you good to go. This is a great conversation with Renan I call him a modern day renaissance man. The only major snafu which I've edited out for this episode is that we had it all rehearsed the day before. And I logged on from my computer to go live at precisely the time and I realized that I needed to log in on my telephone. It took me about nine minutes actually to get there. Renan was scrambling wondering where the hell I was. I finally made it and what what follows is the best part of the interview, I edited out some of the scrambling on Ronan's part. Good times on Instagram Live growing pains. Here is the interview on the good to go foods Instagram account from April 27 2021 with Renan oz Turk work there. Yeah. Oh my gosh, dude. Yeah, Instagram. You can you know, I can do Rubik's cubes and things like that. But you try to get on an Instagram Live heavens to Betsy.Renan Ozturk:
Nice. How's it going Thom? Thom's an old friend He's in. What, you're in Jackson, New Hampshire in the White Mountains....?Thom Pollard:
Yep, in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, lovely. Mount Washington Valley, which drew me here probably 32 years ago, and my heart and soul have been here ever since even though it's good to be able to travel. I think as much as I love the mountains here. As you know, man, you can fall in love with where you live. But there's always that pole of the mountains far and away. So, but yeah, good to see. I feel like I should be interviewing you Tom's a Thompson old school legend of the climbing community. And he was with us as the main idea on the average trip a few years ago, and he was the last person to see Mallory's body. Man, Conrad and Jake founded on the dark side of Everest. So looking into a 60, how many year old corpse was that he had been there for 75 years. So when we discovered the body he had been missing for 75 years. Let me just try to get my phone in a cozy little spot. Yeah, he had been. He George Mallory and Sandy Ervin went on a summit attempt on June 8 in 1924. And that's a long time ago to be over 28,000 feet. That was before. Most people thought it was possible to even get to that height without dying. And they disappeared. last scene actually headed in the direction of the summit, which is pretty amazing. And that they were that high, but but after they went into the clouds, that was it. They were gone. And so, you know, for many, many years, people wondered not only people who are fans of mountain climbing and things like that, but but family you know, he left three children behind Sandy Irvin's parents were obviously heartbroken and 75 years later there we were with a public broadcasting crew, and a BBC crew. And on the first day of searching may 1 1999 Conrad Rebel Without a Cause, if you will, goes out of the search area. He's like, you know, so he kind of ventures out following I guess, a little bit of gut and, and, and sits down to take a look around and they're not too far off was George Mallory. And so it's all about the realm of human possibility. Like how how far can an individual go He or she truly sets, you know, their heart and soul into a task. And, you know, Renard, yourself who was a person who, you know, kind of, you know always knew about Everest right? But you set your your heart and soul on other things, you know, maybe more vertical or on on mountains that nobody even knows the names of, you know, until you went there. Nobody knew what Maru was. I did because I had been there before. But then, you know, Mark senate gives you a ping. And he's like, Hey, Pollard thinks he knows where Sandy Ervin is and and suddenly you're interested and hope you all hell broke loose, dude, when you got onto the team that you know, suddenly Mark and I were like, well go, we'll pay our own way. We'll do a, you know, grassroots climbing expedition. And then you got involved. And it was like, hey, if we're gonna do this, let's do a film. Let's Get Real financing. Let's do this, right. And, you know, as a little bit of a backstory. Not long before that somebody had gone missing on broadpeak, which is one of the 8000 meter peaks near k two. And a drone operator, the brother of the guy who disappeared, took a drone and flew it darn near up to the summit of broadpeak and found his brother still alive. And they were able to rescue him because of the drone. And so suddenly, instead of going to Mount Everest and putting our boots on the ground, which it sounds all well and good, but when you put your boots on the ground, you're risking life and limb. You know, I've risked Azizi, right, we've all heard that you're clipped into a rope, it's a walk up, you know, we'll leave the altitude for the nutrition part, when we talk about that in a few minutes, but, but when you're off row, even though it's like, you know, maybe 40 or 45 degrees, if you slip and fall, you, you just keep going. It's over is a you know, if you were on a roof and at a 10 foot drop, big deal, but, but it's every step is life and death. So if we could get a drone up there, and this is Ronan's, you know, the the force of your character, if we can figure out how to get drones up there, we can do vast amounts of searching that no human beings could ever do. And yours. And so that's what we set about to do to get up there and use the drones. And, you know, we're not and that's, it was just absolutely brilliant, what you did, and the images that that we spent most of our time searching, you know, from the comfort of a little hotel in in Tibet, looking at pictures and blowing them up and looking for evidence of Mallory erven. Pretty, pretty amazing, like a real remarkable, you know, it's the first of its kind of Expedition and you know, Mark and I would have gone and had a great time, but but without you, my man like you really made the difference. You put us on the map in a big way.Renan Ozturk:
No, it's.... Yeah, it's a big tipic team effort on a trip like that comes out a lot. A lot of details. Yeah, this is this is just a general chat about, about creativity and high altitude nutrition. And our trip to chum along that which is the native indigenous Tibetan. name for Everest. Yeah, and Tom was it was a key key part part of that, that trip. And yeah, so we're just we're just chatting about that. We like Thomas saying we use drones to search. I didn't really do anything too crazy. Or too hard to operate in general out there and putting yourself in the position with with a camera or a drone that even has has battery life. And if you feel good enough to even like sit up and and press the button is it felt like a big accomplishment. And yeah, it was it was pretty wild. Those things flew basically stock out of the manufacturer, we just got a special permission to unlock the altitude and hack the descent speed so we can get them down faster. But it was it was exciting to to have something that we had dreamed about. And you and Mark had thought about actually come come to life andThom Pollard:
Yeah, well, that that might make a good segue to talk about altitude nutrition because operating a drone at at a altitude is almost impossible, but the idea of operating a human body is is another thing and so we were fortunate enough to have good to go foods with us. And that was a you know, that was through Renard really like a contact of yours even though good to go foods is, you know, kind of a stone's throw from where I live at their home base. But it made a lot of difference because probably one of the biggest challenges on a climbing expedition is is staying healthy and and motivated you know, and one of the things that goes away at altitude is a good appetite or the desire to you know, even drink you know, water and so, you know, with with a with a partner like good to go foods, they were able to supply us with good high altitude fare, and admittedly my favorite high altitude food until 2019. Was Snickers bars and, and ramen. Because Oh, and coffee, of course, you know, I mean, I'm a big coffee guy. And I know you're not supposed to drink coffee at altitude. But it this was kind of a game changer for us. And what did you feel that way as well? I mean, we really had some good food up high.Renan Ozturk:
Yeah, no, it's I mean, it's, it's hard to eat anything. And the way that I describe a lot of those trips to to people is that as soon as you arrive at base camp, your body starts to die in the hourglasses is ticking because you're at 80,000 and you start to decline and it's this careful balance of how you manage your energy. If you start chasing x too hard trying to get beauty shots and Basecamp though you might not ever make a pie. And yeah, the food is pretty, pretty important. You can't really digest much and everything makes you feel nauseous. So yeah, I I've never had a problem with with the good to go so I just kept that because our buddy Freddie first first connected me with Justin and the team over there and we've had one family backpacking trips and the roof cords lower altitude expeditions all kinds of like lightweight trips when this was my first time at altitude and yeah, it's I think it's I mean it just goes to show like it's simple is best you read the ingredients on there and it's there's no yellow seven or or green behind it's just Bs and you've heard up before but by yeah I think we had we had all their problems in terms of I mean if you if you've seen some of the some of the media coming out and read Mark's book The third poll that just came out it goes really deep into all this and the issues that we're facing but we we were battling even to melt water for those for the food that we did have and as we started to get Yeah, Todd Taylor's dad yeah we had good to go in the wind rivers with with Todd but yeah, we were barely eating anything up high so to be to be honest, like a lot of us didn't need anything on the on the final 3040 hours summit push and then as you come down you start to eat things that you can you can't your body can deal with. I really love the granola other good to go which is like you don't even have to you don't even have to put hot water or anything into it. You can eat it as it is. And it's it's packaged. And we had good to go in the jungle for this last two pui expedition, again with Mark and Han all that and Taylor and that was a trip or all food just rots and as destroyed in a few days if it's not packed. Really, really, like seal like, like these guys. And it's always a matter of space and weight. And that's another thing with altitude is you gotta everything has to be light, hence the dehydrated nature of it.Thom Pollard:
But yeah, calorie rich, low salt. You know, like I'd said ramen earlier ramen is like eating like pouring salts into your mouth. And it has that broth, the taste And which I liked. So it was kind of like drinking your food. But it was good nutritious food in it. And as you said, when you're on a summit push, like eating is it's secondary, you don't really need to eat to survive up there, but a little bit of hydration and laying the groundwork for that summit push is critical. And that all happens, what you eat, you know, kind of at the first high camp and then as you move your way,Renan Ozturk:
yeah, yeah, I have from from Cory Richards, I got the tip to put the camel black water bladder, I think actually had an MSR inside the suit. And I had the hose, everything was inside. And I was sipping off that it did eventually freeze. But that was kind of a little secret weapon to get a tiny bit of hydration in. Just because, yeah, I know, I know, Mark didn't eat much he was having some issues. And yeah, you just kind of do do what you can.Thom Pollard:
Well, it's it's also really simple. And you know, obviously, you know, good to go kind of got got a started today. And I want to send them all the love that they deserve one of the best parts at altitude, the last thing you want to do is toil away at a cookstove. I mean, it's it's it's one you, you don't want to go outside of your tent, even if you're cooking, there's the fumes from from your stove. So you just pour water into it, boiling water, and that hits the spot. So it makes it really easy. And that that's it. It's like you don't want to take your hands or your toes out of a sleeping bag. Well you do because you're the drone Master, right? So you'd be sitting and we'd be resting quietly, the North coal. And all of a sudden I'd hear rah and and the drone lights up. And everybody's like, oh, there it goes. run on again. and off you go. And everybody kind of run out and watch what you were filming on the drone. And so, dude, yeah, you are a man with limitless energy. I honestly think that there is something not human about your ability to just wake up 24 seven, get up out of your tent, whether it's checking a time lapse camera, or getting another drone shot or it, it really does boggle the mind. Because I think sometimes once time, you know people get in their tent warm and toasty. It's really tough to extract yourself from it. But I think for my knowing you the way I do, which is an extensively we met maybe 10 years ago up in Jackson, with Freddy and you have this burning desire to create and it in in you are just feeding this, this this voracious appetite to just try to get one better shot or another shot that maybe you've never seen before. And I love that, and I'm inspired by it. And you know, D is their words to it? Or do you have you ever tried to articulate what that is in you that that drives you to create all the time?Renan Ozturk:
Oof, yeah, throwi out the good questions.... No, no, I think it's, it's just a lo of it comes from just the p ivilege to be in those pl ces, and you know, how special i is. And you know, how limit d Your time is just in genera on this earth. So you just wan to go go really hard. And I thi k we're living at this incredi le inflection point of technolo y, where it's smaller, and ou can get it into all those places, and especially aft r this last year. Like peop e are listening to the right ind of stories and and we'r just trying to, like, really ma e make the most of it. And yea , sometimes it gets it does g t stressful, all those dThom Pollard:
Yeah, I yeah, I think the the one the first shot of our of that Everest expedition, at least, and I know that it happens on the other ones as well, is just the amount of gear that you take to the airport. And you don't have to have all that gear to be creative, but it sure doesn't hurt when you want to make pictures that are going to knock people's socks off. And run on you've you've been since 2019. You've been on some remarkable expeditions to the Arctic down to Guyana. to the jungle, and you know what? You know? Is there something you're after? You know, like, I mean that kind of truly, like, what is it you're, you want to discover on these expeditions and other than making beautiful pictures? And I think I kind of know the answer, because I know you love to connect with individuals and people but and the land and the environment, but But what are what are you trying to share with the world? Like, if somebody couldn't see your work? What is it you're trying to do for give back to us or to the planet?Renan Ozturk:
Um, yeah. I mean, it used to be more of just showing these environments in a way that people haven't seen before. But But obviously, there's, there's a bigger goal these days, and like conservation and social justice and, and those are like huge, crazy, crazy topics. But I think the more you can boil it down to individual connection, and bringing all these art forms and people together on a film project, like we had on Everest, where you're, you're tying things in on a really personal level, and then it might make people turn their heads in a different way. Rather than just a news headline. And, again, sometimes those pieces of media like cut through the fat and everything else and do make a difference. So yeah, that's, I think that's, that's part of it. And sometimes it's, it's worth waiting 10 to 20 years for a single project to come come to life, like, like the project that you're also a part of the sanctity of space, which, which is telling the story of Brad Washburn, one of the greatest mountain aerial photographers and explorers to ever to ever live, that's connecting on like, a deep personal level with, with a subject and, and letting it come to fruition over over many years. And yeah, sometimes those things never happened, but you're, you're fighting for them in the background and, and trying to try to make it work day by day with, with all the other opportunities that come through, and it's been just been really fun to collaborate with, with so many different people. Because I would love to do more. More painting and artwork for myself personally, it's like, really, it's, it's relaxing, and, and nice, but now I've gotten into this video world and, and film stuff, honestly, it's, it's stressful. And I feel like it's just like killing me slowly. But it's also like, inspiring, and I have like, a lot of energy for it to, to hopefully, like, apply all of this, like this sort of these little bits of like technology that we can get our hands on to these, these stories now that are beyond, beyond claiming that, that put the put it in the hands of people in the voices of people that need to be amplified. And I know that's a little hot, but it's it's true for us.Thom Pollard:
Yeah. You know, um, you actually said something in there, that's, that's really heavy. But it You said, you know, like, kind of it's, you're so busy and trying to get it all in that it's slowly kind of killing you. Right? I don't I think sometimes there's a literal sense to that, but, but you have this unique ability to have an idea and make it become reality. I mean, if it one just needs to look at that. The painting on the back wall behind you to see that you were seated in front of I believe that's the trango group that in Pakistan, behind you, you looked at it and made it happen. It's a different kind of media medium there because you're just relaxing and painting and there's no hours of the day, but it's almost like, you know, that some people are kind of chosen, like you have these abilities. And and you're like, well, I'm going to hang on for the ride and I'm going to try to get every single thing out of it that I possibly can. And then let's hope but when you know you're you're a young man now let's hope by the time you're, you know 60 let's say you'd be like alright, I'm pulling back well, it let's you need to make it to 60 so you need to have a painting expedition but but it's like You are a voice for for people for the concerns of people for the environment for for cultures. And I, I would never want to place that on you and say, Well, if you don't do it, you're not doing your job because you Your job is to stay healthy. You're you have a beautiful wife and family, extended family and a lot of people care about you, but But um, you have these ideas and it's like, I can come almost picture like seeing your brain working while you sleep like just these dreams, churning things out and you wake up and Okay, dreams will become reality now. Boom. And there's not enough Brad Washburn used to say there are not enough hours in the day to do the things that I want to do. And Brad lived till he was 96 and that ain't bad.Renan Ozturk:
Yeah, yeah, he was. If you haven't you haven't seen Brad Washburn's work, look it up. And hopefully, our film that's coming out sometime it's it's done that sanctity space film, it's just slowed down release with with COVID because we always thought it wouldn't be a theatrical thing in theaters are all these are all down. But yeah, I'm still. You know, I'm still up until midnight, one of the morning, almost every night, like working like pressing the buttons. And I think that although I've been in some horrific accidents, and I pushed myself to the brink on expeditions, where a lot of people don't see is, and it's probably the same for us, when you're, how quick how hard you push yourself when you're home and behind behind the big computers, like climbing the pixel mountain, so to speak. And that, that's what really kills you. Not slowly, but quickly, like destroys your, your body like that much editing. But it's also like really important to take that time to really go through the data. It's kind of like shooting a natgeo expedition and being your own editor. When you deliver stills to that geo, they even like a misfire when when you shoot the ground, you have to deliver every single raw image that you shot. And that's, that's really a naked feeling. But when you get back and you really spend the time to look through it, that's where you discover beauty in the unexpected. And if I had, like an overall motto, and that's like, come come out of the woodwork. I think that that's it because if you stay curious, and you're always looking for unexpected beauty then that that's what keeps you going and keeps you curious and and makes it so you don't just give up whether it's in the field when you're hypoxic on Everest or sitting in front of the computer screen. And it's just crashed four different times. And you're all you're trying to do is process a time lapse.Thom Pollard:
So as we kind of turn that was beautiful. Thank you. So as we kind of turn the corner a little bit and don't want to keep people too long. Do you have any exciting projects that we should keep our eyes open or any thing planned that you can share to let people know what you might be embarking upon soon?Renan Ozturk:
I mean, definitely the sanctity of space, which, which, you know, if you guys don't know, Tom was like one of Brad Washburn's protegees, and they had a tight relationship and a lot of times what it is in this, this feature doc that that's coming out. And I feel so old now because we've been working on it for over 10 years, but that'll that'll eventually drop out. But Taylor and I just looked at our list and we literally have 14 different docks in development and almost none of them have to do with climbing they're all mainly conservation and and social justice type type films. Even though I am supposed to go with my friend john Griffith, who is like become this master of virtual reality VR shooting and and huddled to go and do some hollow wants to you know, push the limits of soloing even more. Somehow. capture that PR but yeah, we're gonna be we're gonna To be in like the high Alps shooting, shooting VR later this summer, and that'll be just, like kind of back to the climbing roots. And it's, it's always full on climbing with climbing with Patil and those environments and like, puts, puts me back in my my toes and makes me train hard and fear for fear for my life and all that good stuff. It keeps us human. You know, ut you know, Ben Ayers, rig He's, he's out in the dolpo region in Nepal right now. We've been we've been pitching the snow leopard conservation project, I was talking about it earlier. But definitely excited about that. We just finished like this full pitch teaser for that, which is a big, big effort and like, you know, decks and budgets, and we're trying to get that. That off the off the ground. But yeah, yeah, lots of there. And we're building studio.Thom Pollard:
Because you don't have enough to do, right. Yeah, but that, but that will be your you'll have an official home base. Hey, Bill. Renard, there's a question here. Kate asks, What's the best way to get involved in producing climate change films?Renan Ozturk:
Um, yeah, I mean, I'm lucky because like Taylor's, and you know, she has a master's degree in this kind of stuff has been studying it forever. And I kind of use her as a point of reference as to what what to get involved in and what not to get involved in. But I think I would give the same advice as I would give to anyone. When they're asking like, how do I find a story, this and that, and why normally say is that just look close to home and things that you might not expect. It's, it's what you have the most intimate, emotional access to, sometimes it's within your own family. And that's the story that's really going to be heartfelt, and that that kind of honesty comes out on screen, you can't just have a fancy camera anymore. And with climate change, it's maybe it's the same kind of thing, where you're, you're looking for your personal connection to it, or something that's close to home for you, that you have an inside track on. And you're taking this massive, massive issue in the world of storytelling and distilling it down to something really intimate, and emotional, because taking on the big picture is is really hard. And you gotta sometimes find your lane. We're not always great at that. We were not like, you know, we were really inspired by like friends like Paula Christina nicklin. And a lot of people who who have developed their their nonprofits and their organizations that tackle specific issues. And we're trending towards doing that in the desert southwest and some of these native communities, but overall, we're more generalists. And maybe we need to take our own. Take my own advice on that, too. ButThom Pollard:
yeah, I think sometimes we tend to look like how am I going to make it big in this business? And do the do the right thing about climate change? And it's happening right here, like, well, right, where we all are. And I think sometimes those personal stories that we know the most about, are the ones that we can tell the best. So it's great starting point, and it's like, you know, if you to conjure up you know, you were talking about Alex Honnold and you know, Mark senate and wrote the book, you know, the impossible climb it Mark wrote his first book, his first big book, not guide book, about something he knew intimately and, and that helped him a lot. And then part of that book, half of it really was his own story. And it's beautiful. And, and so I think that's then you get to venture forth, and you don't need, you know, 20 suitcases of equipment to do it. You don't even need a really expensive camera hack. You've shot some beautiful things on your iPhone, for that. Gorgeous things on your iPhone. And so, yeah, perhaps maybe that's it, maybe we look to some of us look too far off in the distance for the great thing that's gonna bring us to the chosen land.Renan Ozturk:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think community focus things like China. Trying to get involved. There's It's pretty important from a food perspective from a travel perspective. Yeah, it's, it's not it's not easy, but that climate change is the biggest, biggest thing to tackle and it's, it's bigger than bigger than climbing and if we can if we can use climbing and all these things that that people pay attention to the to be a gateway to create more understanding all this other stuff and that's, that's great.Thom Pollard:
Awesome. Well thank you I don't want to keep you for too long actually, you invited me into your house and I'm truly honored we we spent two months together two years ago and we now occasionally get to text and chat on the phone and I always look forward to that to actually see you virtually is beautiful and I look forward to once we all get all our everybody's vaccine vaccinated i'll come on out maybe senate and I will get in the car and take a road trip but when you open up your expedition studios and yeah keep us posted and the the good to go you know, thing is something that I hope people who are watching who live this kind of lifestyle will truly look into it's worth it. It's It's It's easy food, good healthy carbohydrates, low salt, and tasty as hell it's not boring camp food that you know it's it's the real deal. And so I'm thankful to them for helping make me feel good on Mount Everest and camping trips. And you know so so to you as well thank you for your creativity, your love your your true passion to try to inspire people. And that's that's the beauty of Renault and and Taylor, you're you're incredibly talented wife and inspiring others to take action and not just sit back and think all is lost. Awesome. Well said, Tom. There's still just still pretty heavy questions coming in. You want to answer? I'll stick around. And have you ever had feedback that made you realize the impact your film had? I'm sure you've had lots of feedback.Renan Ozturk:
Yeah, I mean, yes and no. I mean, you've had Yeah, sometimes like people watch films that have like, dedicated their lives to issues because of it. That's, that feels like feels like real impact. Yeah, lately we've been you know, every film kind of has its nonprofit related to it and go fund me like for Vladimir Russian Marine, mammal biologists biologist. Like with Taylor's dad with with on impact on winford slife, who just passed away from Ashes to ashes. Film it's hard to say like that the true impact there but sharing his his story before he passed. And hopefully like he's like he says like he can't can't change the world but put a dent in it. Yeah, and yes. It's a tricky tricky way to let it go. But indeed, anyways, yeah, well, we'll have to we'll we'll have to continue this thing again and we can have another one of these these little chats and realize like how many good questions that would come out of it. So thanks, everybody for for tuning in.Thom Pollard:
Thank you to The Woods Brothers for the use of their song Happiness Jones for the theme song here on the HQ. If you'd like this episode, or any of the HQ Would you please click subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen and give me a rating. I'd love five stars and a review. It goes a long way in letting more people know about this podcast. For more on Renan Ozturk Check out his artwork, it's out of this world as his photography. His website is a phantasmagoria of visual and spiritual storytelling, Modern Renaissance man you will see that right there on RenanOzturk.com. For ore on good to go foods go to oodto-go.com between the two a d the go is a dash real food r al adventure the most d licious meals using clean i gredients to be in Wherever y ur adventures take you better t an a candy bar. Well, you k ow, I mean, in the old days w en we didn't know any better c ndy bars were pretty good. But t ese guys have done some damn g od vegan gluten free, handmade o tions, and they're right a ross the way in Maine not too f r. So check them out. My f iends, thank you for visiting t e happiness quotient. I will s e you all real soon.The Wood Brothers:
Happy, happy, happy, happiness Jones....