At the age of 29, international bestselling author and worldwide adventurer Alan Hobson set out to realize his greatest childhood dream. It took him 10 grueling expeditions to high altitude, three to Mt. Everest, and a decade of intense fundraising, training and organizational effort before he finally stood on top of the world. As he gazed out from the highest physical point on the planet, tears froze to his face. He could see the curvature of the Earth as the horizon bent in his peripheral vision at 29,035 feet.
“Half the dream is done,” the then 39-year-old radioed to base camp as his voice cracked with emotion. “If we’re persistent enough, we can do the dreams.”
In August 2000, Alan set out on his ultimate adventure to date. At 42, he was diagnosed with cancer of the blood and given less than a year to live. Using the hard-won lessons he learned on Everest, he chose to ignore solid medical evidence that there was an 85 per cent chance he would die and thanks to raw courage and the miracles of modern medicine, he not only survived but thrived. He is now one of less than a few dozen people to regain an elite level of fitness after a blood transplant for acute leukemia, is more physically fit than he was prior to his last Everest expedition and has been cancer-free for over nine years. He is now considered to be medically cured.
“My ‘Inner Everest’ has dwarfed the outer one,” he says quietly, “I see life now from a new perspective. Success isn’t about height. It’s about depth.”
The story of Alan Hobson’s life is a breathtaking portrait in passion, persistence and peak performance spanning four decades. He is not only an Everest summiteer and worldwide adventurer, but an Adventrepreneur™, a serious businessman who has successfully trademarked his own business niche. He has appeared on many national television talk shows, including Oprah. His expeditions have required millions of dollars to finance, organize and execute, and they have stretched Alan’s leadership, team-building, sales and communications abilities even more than they have his physical attributes. He has proven his talent for transforming the apparently intangible benefits of high-stakes adventure into tangible results for his sponsors’ and suppliers’ bottom lines.
“Everest is 97 percent preparation and three percent execution,” he says. “If you want to climb the physical mountain, you must first climb the organizational Everest. That requires a mountain of money and that means finding out what corporations need to succeed in their own climb – and marrying the two expeditions together.”
Alan’s achievements go far beyond the business of Everest. He is the international bestselling author of half a dozen books, a former nine-time All-American gymnast, marathon runner, hang glider pilot, white water kayaker, parachutist, journalist, and winner of the prestigious William Randolph Hearst Award for Excellence in News Writing. He has scuba dived beneath the ice of frozen mountain lakes in the dead of the Canadian winter, visited sunken wrecks in Lake Geneva, and executed numerous night dives in the frigid and turbulent waters of the north Atlantic. He is a tough man for tough times – an expert at overcoming adversity, managing cataclysmic change, and enduring hostile and life-threatening operating conditions.
Alan’s first expedition to Everest ended 3,000 feet short of the summit when a fierce storm ripped his team’s high camp right off the mountain. Undaunted, Alan was back on Everest three years later, this time with half the budget of the first trip, half the personnel, and no bottled oxygen. His team missed the summit by an excruciatingly disappointing two city blocks when their lead climber came down with high altitude sickness and they elected to rescue him rather than continue blindly going for the goal. Finally, on his third expedition, Alan changed his strategy completely, attacked the mountain from its southern, Nepalese side, outsourced the organizational and leadership aspects of the climb, and focused exclusively on training and fund-raising. The plan worked. His team put six expedition members on top – almost half its climbers -- a feat achieved by likely only a handful of teams in Everest’s storied 80-year climbing history. Little did he know then, that an even greater challenge lay ahead – the Everest of illnesses.
Alan’s next expedition is the one he’s currently on – to continue his miraculous climb back from cancer, and help as many other cancer patients as possible do the same. Together with his former wife, Cecilia, they have written a landmark book, Climb Back from Cancer – Introducing The 10 Tools of Triumph for Survivors and Caregivers, Alan’s sixth. It chronicles their uplifting true story and pinpoints what they consider are The 10 Tools of Triumph™ for survivors and caregivers – the key psychological skills necessary to survive life-threatening illness and thrive beyond it. Alan has also formed The Climb Back from Cancer Foundation. It is developing the ground-breaking Climb Back from Cancer™ Program that is helping patients and survivors overcome chronic fatigue – the biggest single challenge faced by North America’s millions of cancer survivors. The foundation’s mission is to help patients, survivors and caregivers climb back to better lives.
“We not only need to save lives,” Alan says. “We need to return them.”
Alan mesmerizes every audience with a custom-built presentation. His exhaustive preparatory process results in every presentation being a one-of-a-kind program that speaks directly to the needs of each group. This approach is unequaled by any other presenter in the world and has earned him the distinctive title of “The Best Adventure Speaker in the World.”