What it takes to crush your scary goals

Australian Adventurer and Mountaineer, Alyssa Azar, discusses how to prepare for any ‘Everest’ goals and how to take action to achieve them. 

Working towards goals big and small

Mentors are essential to reaching goals. “There have been lots of people who have inspired me along the way particularly women mountaineers, who have blazed their own trail but my dad was always a massive supporter and mentor for me. He taught me to believe in myself from such a young age which gave me a lot of confidence.”

Whenever you have a tough day lean on the people you trust. “I have a really good support network around me. There’s times when it does get really tough so definitely my close family and trainers have helped me get ready for Everest.”

It’s important to break your goals down. “When I wanted to climb Everest I knew this was a huge goal that was years away. I had to break it down otherwise it would be too overwhelming. I reverse engineer so with a goal like Everest, which is three to five years away, I work out the skills and strengths I need and I slowly work on that so then it’s driving me toward that bigger direction.”

With any goal set a clear direction so it becomes easier to understand the steps needed to get there. “I write my goals down and I also write down steps, or courses, and all the things I’ve got to do to achieve them.”

Understand there is always a process. “You’re never going to get it all right. There were plenty of days where my training didn’t go well or something happened. You can always come back from that.”

Whatever your ‘Everest’ is. “I would say back yourself and believe in yourself. I think that was the number one thing that helped me achieve my goal. If you have the right mindset, the right confidence and you do back yourself everything else is achievable. You can learn skills, you can improve as long as you believe that you can actually do it.”

Reaching the summit of Everest

To reach your goal, particularly somewhere like Everest, it’s just the most surreal thing. You imagine it for so many years and then all of a sudden you’re there. It takes a minute to realise and I remember saying to myself ‘Just take it all in—you are towering over some of the highest mountains in the world, looking out at the most amazing view’. It felt like slow motion because I got up to the summit, I got my photos, and tried to really enjoy what I’d just done.”

“I was on the summit for 20 minutes and that’s a long time. No more than 30 minutes because we are on a time limit to get back down.

“You feel this massive joy and it is a bit emotional. You go through a lot of obstacles not knowing if you will reach the summit and so you are so thankful that you did believe in yourself. I think you enjoy it more when you get back to base camp, you’re out of danger and and you feel like you can revel in it a little bit.”

Coming back down to Earth

After getting back down to base camp Alyssa slept for 14 hours straight. “Then you’ve got to do a three-day trek out to the local airport and so you can fly out. I spent a few weeks totally recovering. It takes a few weeks to get back into being able to move properly again. You lose a lot of weight because of the altitude. I lost about 10kg of muscle mass so I was really skinny and it was mostly trying to get good nutrition and then start to get moving again. After you achieve the summit you’ve got to make sure you are really taking care of yourself.