Aug. 31, 2021

Randall Blaum gets offered a director role in a film on Mount Everest. It reset his life.

Randall was asked to direct a film on Mount Everest directing the film was the most insignificant part of that entire adventure. ledge with a 2000 foot drop. pee and poop and a hole in the ground with a lady standing in front of me And when I got...

0:12 Randall was asked to direct a film on Mount Everest

0:34 directing the film was the most insignificant part of that entire adventure.

2:18 ledge with a 2000 foot drop.

3:17 pee and poop and a hole in the ground with a lady standing in front of me

9:09 And when I got to Basecamp I didn't know I was gonna make it ...I was dead last.

9:45 some people came over to me and said you're the reason why we think we can make it to the top of the mountain.

11:24 when I got to Basecamp I literally I just I broke down and cried

11:55 it was a trip that maybe didn't change me but brought out all of who I really was possibly since birth, but it reconfigured the way I thought about my entire life up to that time.


Jeff Sterns  0:00  
I'm intrigued by your story and the life lesson related to your mountain climbing. You might dig it into that,

Unknown Speaker  0:07  
no, it's fine. It's actually fine. So it was several years ago, I was asked to direct a film and follow a, at that point in time, the oldest North American decline Mount Everest, Werner burger, and then my cinematographer was john briber, who's an Emmy Award winning cinematographer. And I said yes to the gig, because hey, I got to go to Mount Everest and direct the film. I mean, why wouldn't you want to do that? Well, it turns out the directing the film was the most insignificant, least important part of that entire adventure. So I spent 42 days in what they call the Khumbu, which is the area basically between Katmandu and Mount Everest. So you basically disconnected from virtually all technology, other than an emergency satellite phone that literally was all that you add, and the mountain really tends to get into your head. And it's very much like that scene in Star Wars where Luke asked Yoda when he goes into the cave, what am I going to find in there? And the answer is only what you take with you. That's exactly what this this is. And there were several times on the mountain write it, no, I was gonna make it. And the people we were traveling with Alpine ascent, which is probably one of the best climbing people,

Jeff Sterns  1:22  
I got to interrupt you. So like, legitimately, we're not just exaggerating, because I really want to be there with you. And when you're explaining this, you're on this mountain. And there were times when you said that you weren't sure you're going to make it does this mean you want to throw in the towel? Does this mean, you thought you weren't going to live? Or did it mean that you just wanted someone to take you back down? Like what does that mean?

Unknown Speaker  1:43  
See, we'll start with your third thing first, no one takes you back down. Because everyone's going forward. If you go back down, you're kind of on your own till you get back to Katmandu. So you know, good luck with that. So your choice is, I guess, to stop and stay where you are or move forward. But I never thought I was going to die. But on our track, there was another tracking group that someone did die. On one of the days, we were in the same camp together, so people do die. But we were coming out of the Tom a monastery. And we had to we were tracking across this large, I mean, this large piece of mountain and without any exaggeration, the ledge was about this wide. And on this side was a 2000 foot drop. And on this side was this mountain that even billy goats couldn't get up. And it took me back to when I was seven years old. And I was trapped on the side of a mountain. And my uncle had to come up and get me because I couldn't go up, I couldn't do it, I couldn't I would die on the side of the mountain unless someone came up to me. And I thought of all things in all the world to be faced with something that happened, you know, 47 years ago, and a cold sweat, I didn't know I could, I didn't know if I could go forward. And I decided that I was going to go forward. And when I crossed the halfway point, the cold sweat stop. But it was one of those moments and everyone that goes to Mount Everest has a moment like that. Because it's just, you know, using the vernacular, it's you God and your emotions, whatever you take with you is is what's there. And I think the mountain brings up stuff that you may not otherwise, understand. You know, I also learned that you know, pee and poop and a hole in the ground having to Lady stand in front of me, protecting me from other people seeing me so the other side of Mount Everest is kind of funny. But I only went to base camp only it was 17,500 feet, because I was not crafted to design to go to the top. And that was going to be my cinematographer and Warner and they did make it. So that was great. And we didn't know they would make it and if Warner died, we would have captured that and they don't bring bodies back from Mount Everest. Once you're up in the ice fallen above. You just kind of stay there. But on the way back. The second time the mountain really threw something at me was short version of a long story. I went right the sherpani ladies that I was with went left didn't know they went left. So for 12 and a half hours I didn't see another soul anywhere and I'm I'm in Nepal, you know, somewhere near Mount Everest, going downhill having no idea what's what. And it was so interesting, because it was just like, no one knows where I'm at. I can't reach anybody. All I had was my backpack, and I keep going downhill. And it turned out to be a day that changed my life forever. Because when you ask yourself the question, Is this all that I am? And am I satisfied with that? And in that exact moment? I knew the answer was yes, this was all that I am and I am satisfied with it but the all that I am has the opportunity to grow by leaps and bounds and there was no fear I spent like I said 12 and a half hours later I reached another village I figured if we keep going down the hill, you're gonna see something sometime. There were there are plenty ladies sitting on the side of a bridge waiting for me. They had been there for about three hours because of course they move faster than I did. But it was a trip that changed who I was forever. And yet very much like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I didn't have to go to Mount Everest to find out who I was. And that was probably the biggest lesson, I could have learned it in the living room. I just didn't believe what the world in these United States was telling me about who I was and what I could do.

Jeff Sterns  5:17  
Okay, you're getting deep, and I appreciate it. But I want to get all surfacey on you about this. So your 12 and a half hours alone. I mean, I can really like you took me there with you. I'm really picturing everything that you went through, I'm sure you went through wondering how it was going to end up and probably crying here. And there, I would be, you're saying that all you had to do is keep going downhill. Now, I agree with you that if I was being logical, I'd say keep going downhill. And eventually, you've got to get to the bottom something or something down there. But you could also have bumped into a chasm. You could have also gotten past something to something you couldn't navigate. I mean, that had to be going through your mind as well, like, on one hand, you're being logical to save yourself like so you don't go nuts. All I got to do is keep going this way. And there's gonna be civilization. But you also, probably not only imagine that you could run into something you couldn't get around, you probably bumped into a few things that were challenging to get around when you were by yourself. Is that good or bad speculation? No,

Unknown Speaker  6:27  
that's fair. Some of the bridges I had to cross, no one in the right mind would cross the good like, you know, two strings, a piece of tape and a prayer. But the thing that I hung on to was the trail that I was on, looked relatively well traveled, I didn't know that it was, but it looked relatively well traveled. Again, the trail is in the middle of kind of the jungle. Again, it's only about this wide. But I can see that it's not overgrown. So someone at some point in time has traveled here, no clue, no concept, what I was going to see around the next quarter, I literally did just have to put faith that I kept going down, I would make it somewhere and find someone. Because again, going down, you're gonna find something something's gonna be at the bottom of doubt. So it was freakishly weird. But then it became very, very comfortable in knowing that no matter what happened, I was good. I think I don't know that that's the same feeling that people have when they're faced with, you know, their own mortality or something like that, because I didn't think I was gonna die. But if I did, I think it was going to be okay with that, because I had found that place.

Jeff Sterns  7:31  
Good answer. And backing up to the bridge that was this wide, that you took you back to when you were seven when your uncle got you down. How long was that? Like? You said, when you're halfway the cold sweat stop. But how long? He was probably on that one. It was the bridge, it was the side of a mountain.

Unknown Speaker  7:52  
It had to be probably at least 40 or 50 yards. It was that powdery. Anyone who's lived in the desert knows what I'm talking about that powdery desert dirt that every time you stepped on it, it all moved underneath you so at no point in time. Did you ever feel you had short footing? It was no when I saw that. It was like I'm done. I'm heading back to Tom a you guys pick me up in three weeks. That was my first response. I can't do this. And then it was like, why am I having that reaction to this? Because I'm not seven, I don't have my uncle. And everyone in front of me seems to be making it. So I did have to zone inside myself. And then I watched what they were doing. And I basically copied them. And that's how I got my self assurance that I could make it across.

Jeff Sterns  8:33  
I'm glad you clarified that because when you're telling the story and you said Oh, when I got halfway across my cold sweat stopped. I thought okay, it's 10 feet long. He took three steps in because he said it's 2000 feet, looking down 20 stories. And there's no handrail This isn't like being at the local mall. There's no glass partition to save you just listening to the story testicles, definitely retracted three inches at that point. Note, I mean, my God, like in my gut, I mean, my God and you tell it so calmly, but it's only because now it's just a story for you. But I know there was a lot going on for you.

Unknown Speaker  9:09  
And when I got to Basecamp I didn't know I was gonna make it I seriously didn't because as much as I trained. I was not trained enough to do that. And every day that we started out, and every day that we'd wind up there were like 16 or 20 people that were climbing the mountain and then other people I was dead last. And do you know what it's like every single time you head out to know that you are the worst you will never make it and that you were always going to be dead ass last. And what happened was we were at a monastery was called Faerie che and some people came over to me and said we just want to tell you something I said what said we think you're the reason why we think we can make it to the top of the mountain. I know why it's like because you have never given up because there are times it was light outside. They were all having dinner. It was dark and I came in camp so It was interesting to find that even being dead ass last, the impact I had by just being me and not giving up, gave other people that were much better off than I was and the ability to climb and track. I was there symbol of, I can make it to if he can do it, I can do it. So no matter whether you're last or first or somewhere in between, sometimes that doesn't matter the effect you're having on other people. And that was probably one of the other biggest lessons that I got out of that whole trip. I

Jeff Sterns  10:28  
think great perspective. We're self conscious when we're last I mean, growing up, athletically or whatever I was, often or usually the that last kid school, whatever. Definitely, between me and the Down syndrome girl being the final one pick for kickball. I mean, what can I talk? And we don't know, I mean, these people let you know how you impacted them, you would not have thought that had they not shared that. And now you now you have the realization that wherever you're at being yourself, you can impact somebody positively.

Unknown Speaker  11:02  
That's right. Like I said, that was just an amazing, amazing moment. And when I made it to, when you go into Basecamp, you kind of come over a little rise and you're on the shale mountain. And you can see Basecamp in the distance. I say, Oh, there it is. It's sort of like the end of a hike. Oh, I can make that. Well, that was still like three and a half miles. And you're on this shale mountain and it's very unstable. And when I got to Basecamp I literally I just I broke down and cried, because I didn't think I could do it and Basecamp was my top of Mount Everest. That was another lesson not everyone has to go all the way to the top your top may be a different size and you need to be happy with if you've done 100% and you've reached your top celebrate that it's not the Why can't make it the rest. No, you made it all the way to here. Be happy with so like I said it was a it was a trip that maybe didn't change me but brought out all of who I really was possibly since birth, but it reconfigured the way I thought about my entire life up to that time.

Unknown Speaker  12:06  
This has been

Jeff Sterns  12:07  
Jeff Sterns connected through cars

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