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The cost to climb Everest and the value it brings: Alan Mallory

In 2008, Alan Mallory and his brother, sister, and father accomplished a remarkable feat. They were the first family of four to climb Everest, pushing through the gruelling two-month climb and reaching the summit. 

Alan turned his experience into a book and a public speaking career. He sat down with Tyler and Ratehub Director of Sales and MoneySense General Manager Jon Vassallo on’s Real Money Talk Podcast. The trio chats about Alan’s experience of climbing Everest and everything that has come since. 

How does a family decide the cost of climbing Everest is worth it? 

Alan Mallory graduated from Queen’s University and worked as an engineer when his Dad casually suggested a family trip up Mount Everest. It was not a massive surprise to the adventurous Mallory family, so this conversation quickly turned into a shared dream. 

The climb took two years of planning, tens of thousands of dollars, and a considerable amount of physical effort. They spent the first year researching and planning, but once the ball got rolling, the family found themselves at Everest base camp faster than they imagined.  Alan’s mother fell early on the journey and tore her Achilles tendon, but the rest of the family pushed on. After months of effort, the final push was a 30-hour straight climb to the summit, and their dream became a reality.

The biggest thing he learned from the climb was not giving up and taking the energy gained from that climb into his future challenges.

“Continue working through challenges, and then once you’re successful, take the positive energy and everything you’ve learned from that…  and bring that to the next challenge in life.”

After the descent 

Once back to sea-level, Alan returned to his job as an engineer. Seven years later, he changed paths and embarked on a career as a writer, speaker, and performance coach. Public speaking had always been something that scared Alan, but he believes in facing challenges head-on. He shared his family story of reaching the world’s highest peak to businesses and organizations and soon found that it could become his full-time career.

People told him that he was crazy for giving up his pensioned engineering job. But Alan believes in taking risks and not looking back. 

By staying in a safe space and not facing a challenge, he thinks, “we choose security in life at the expense of opportunity.” 

On retirement

Alan sees a lot of similarities between climbing a mountain and planning for retirement. Both are dreams for many people and take years of planning. But people often say once they reach that goal, things can seem a little empty. 

“People retire, and they think that they’re going to sit on a beach and drink tequila, and there’s nothing they’re striving for. The whole purist of something in life is one of the major things that makes life worth living. I think when you abandon that, your mind tells your body, we’re done.” 

His message to fight this emptiness is simple. 

“Continue setting lofty goals in life because that’s what’s going to continue moving you forward and continue making it a meaningful journey.”

Life lessons

When it comes to setting goals and taking on challenges, Alan believes that we need to be clear about what we want.

“I’m an advocate for kind of writing down what you want to accomplish and making sure it’s clear and immersing yourself in the factors associated with that challenge.” 

Once your goal is clear, you start noticing the little things that are helping you along the way and can put them into practice more often. 

His biggest advice for people taking on a challenge and planning their future is to meet it head-on. “Find your own Everest. Don’t be afraid to set lofty goals in life. If there really is something that your passionate about in your life, don’t abandon it just because it’s a challenge. Make sure it’s your goal and then put forward the effort and energy and everything involved and make it a reality.”

Hear the full conversation with Alan, Jon, and Tyler on your trusted Canadian personal finance podcast, Real Money Talk. To learn about Alan’s journey, read his published work, and hear his story, check out his website