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Watched a great documentary on Netflix the other day called Valley Uprising.
It's about the 50 year history of rock climbing in Yosemite... and... the larger-than-life characters spanning three generations who have made their name climbing it's massive walls.
Now, I'm not a climber. But it's fascinating watching people at the top of their game doing things most people consider impossible. And some of the footage is breathtaking.
Plus, there's always business lessons if you're paying attention.
Take for example the climbing route called "The Nose" on El Capitan.
3000 feet of seemingly flat granite soaring into the sky.
Back in the early 50's no one thought it was climbable.
That was until Warren Harding came along. A guy with just the right combination of vision and crazy to attempt it. He used "siege" tactics of fixed ropes, bolts, pitons, and every climbing trick in the book to help him up the mountain.
Took him 45 days of climbing spread over 18 months to reach the summit.
Suddenly the impossible was possible.
Two years later the next guy did the climb in 1 week.
And he did it without the aid of the "siege" tactics used in the first ascent.
Fifteen years later came the first 1 day ascent.
Then climbers started "free climbing" the mountain, scaling the 3000ft granite wall without the help of any climbing equipment, using only ropes for protection in case of a fall.
Soon a speed record was set:
2 hours and 23 minutes.
Today, The Nose of El Capitan is one of the most popular climbs in the world. You can expect to wait in line for two days at the base to get your chance. And it's not unusual to be surrounded by dozens of groups of climbers on the wall at the same time.
What was once seen as impossible is now a popular tourist attraction.
How is this acceleration in results possible?
Because each generation of climbers stood on the shoulders of those before them...
The first guy had to traverse completely unknown territory and face the real possibility that it was indeed unclimbable. The next generation knew it was climbable and had an established route to follow. Today there are dozens of guidebooks and websites walking you through every stage of the process.
When you leverage the experience of the tribe all that mental energy you used to spend figuring everything out for yourself can now be focused on the one thing that matters -- climbing the mountain.