Reading time: 6th protocol
Richard Wiese is an American explorer. As a writer, adventurer, past president of the famous Explorer’s Club, presenter and executive producer of the PBS show “Born to Explore With Richard Wiese,” and podcast host of “Life’s Tough: Explorers Are Tougher,” Wiese has had some of the toughest experiences, both dangerous and dangerous breathtaking journeys that one can imagine. He got to know many inspiring people who went to their physical and mental limits.
One of those people is Bo Parfet. Long-time friends and teammates, Parfet and Wiese have a lot in common, and in a recent podcast episode, Wiese sits down to talk about Parfet’s experiences conquering the Seven Summits and personal demons along the way.
Parfet is an explorer, mountaineer, father, philanthropist and real estate professional.
In this season two episode of Life’s Tough, Wiese asks Parfet to start at the beginning. Parfet has not always had an easy time of it. During his school days he struggled with learning difficulties and at home with emotional turmoil. Speaking of the challenges he faced in his early childhood, Parfet says one of his core memories goes back to a parent-teacher conference in second grade. At just seven years old, living with dyslexia and speech impairment, Parfet heard his teacher tell his parents that she doubted he would graduate from high school; of course he was crushed. He explains that he went home that evening and cried alone in his bedroom.
With the help of tutors and his own strong will, his grades improved through middle school, and this time his teacher said he would graduate from high school but never college. Parfet was again dejected and set out to prove everyone wrong. Now a proud graduate of the University of Michigan, Parfet earned his MBA from Northwestern University’s prestigious Kellogg School of Management after completing his bachelor’s degree.
Wiese asks Parfet how he did this, and Parfet explains that he started by picking one thing he was good at and moving on from there. For Parfet, his first love was basketball. He has invested a lot of time, given his full commitment and achieved amazing results. Then he took that determination and translated it into his academic practice and realized he enjoyed math.
In an interview, Parfet explains: “I slowly got into every stumbling block [a] Springboard ”as he set off. Parfet also shares that his social skills helped him be successful. He made friends with the students in the class who took detailed notes and asked them to share them. From there he compared the notes with others and with the textbook and discovered a learning method that was suitable for him.
About overcoming other obstacles
Wiese then tells the audience how he and Parfet got to know each other. Parfet turned to Wiese when he was putting together a team for a canoe race in Belize. Wiese shares that he was by no means an expert, but Parfet believed that Wiese was his man. Consequently, Wiese also notes that this expedition was the closest to death, and the two talk about their journey and how unsuccessful they were in getting anywhere near winning.
Wiese tells the audience the death-defying story of how her boat was overturned by the rushing rapids and she and her third teammate were pulled under the rapids and held under water. Parfet tells how he first appeared and felt like he had waited an eternity before seeing Meadow emerge underwater. Wiese describes the next few moments as what Parfet would define as a natural leader and adventurer. They all knew they were in dire straits, and Parfet, who had “created a bubble of calm,” quickly shrugged off the initial shock before getting the team back in the canoe and racing. Wiese says that Parfet’s determination inspired him the most.
The interview is about Parfet’s adventure on the mountain and how he came to conquer the Seven Summits. He tells stories of how he experienced the highest heights and the lowest depths while climbing the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. He says nothing can prepare you for the physical and mental fatigue that awaits you, and each experience humiliated him more and more.
Wiese asks Parfet about his hardest experiences and death. He tells the audience that Parfet has probably seen more corpses than anyone he knows and asks him to describe how he struggled through these troubling experiences and why he didn’t just stop after realizing the Risks were so high.
Parfet says, “The obstacle is the way. There is great learning, and if you can push it through, you usually come out a better person. ”He goes on to explain that there is always a major stumbling block in any climb, and for every person you see struggling, everyone you helping along the way and seeing everyone you see die will teach you to focus more and feel more grateful for the simple joys in life when it is over.
They discuss Mount McKinley (now Denali) and the “death zone” on Everest. Parfet sadly remembers his teammate Rob Milne and his death on Everest. He tells Wiese and his audience that he passed Milne on this particular climb and they had a happy exchange and discussed how excited they were to climb the highest mountain in the world. About an hour later, Parfet heard excitement on the radio, and he and his teammates found out that Milne had died instantly.
The Sherpas came to the rescue and, as in similar situations, forced the climbers back to the bottom, believing the spirit of the mountain had been disturbed and did not want to risk upsetting it any further. Parfet explains that “the Sherpas get tired because they believe”[d] [we had] disturbed the spirit of the mountain, and [that] now it might kill someone else. The death zone is not a place to forgive and you have to stay focused. “
Wiese asks Parfet to tell him how he feels about adventures like this now that he is married and has two children. Parfet says the equation has completely changed. He talks about the toughest mountain he has ever climbed was the K2 in Pakistan and shocks the audience when he says he did this climb when he had a three week old baby at home. Wiese even tells the audience that he told Parfet that “it wasn’t cool” and that even Parfet knew it was a selfish decision.
Parfet explains that exploring the outside world helps you explore your inner world, and the things you learn about yourself on every journey make you a better person. However, he said that if he had to do it all over again, he would not have left his wife and newborn baby to face death on K2. During this experience, he learned many lessons in humility.
The podcast episode ends with Wiese asking Parfet how he can get out of such an onslaught and what’s next for such an adventurer. Parfet explains that he turned to entrepreneurship and philanthropy. In 2007 he founded a successful real estate development company, Iconic Development, and today he and his wife are co-founders of Denali Venture Philanthropy, which through an investment perspective helps fund impact projects around the world.
Finally, Parfet shares what helped him persevere, from a child with learning difficulties to a man on the edge of a mountain, and what he tells his children every day before school: “You don’t have to be the best, but you have to be the hardest work. ”He is a firm believer in hard work, humility, and that it is inevitable that we will all suffer setback, but these are only opportunities to learn and grow stronger.
The last exchange between the two explorers? A fitting quote from the film “Top Gun”.
Wiese: “Hey Bo, you can always be my wingman.”
Parfet: “Bullcrap, you can be mine.”
About Bo Parfet
Bo Parfet is an adventurer, naturalist and mountaineer. He is one of 127 people who have climbed all of the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on any continent. He has published two books: “Die Trying: One Man’s Quest to Conquer the Seven Summits” and “They Lived to Tell the Tale: True Stories of Mountain Adventure from the Legendary Explorers Club”. (Author chapter).
Parfet is a real estate professional, philanthropist and author. He and his wife Meredith are co-founders of Denali Venture Philanthropy, an impact investment organization that promotes partnerships to improve social impact. Parfet is also Chief Growth Officer at DLP Real Estate Capital.
Parfet is passionate about his philanthropic work and global civic engagement. He developed the Seven Summits Award Program to award scholarships to outstanding students doing field research in health care and was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for 4,000 or more hours of volunteer service worldwide.