This unique programme took longer to create than to plan a mountain expedition and achieve the climb. Huge teamwork was required in its creation, from ideation to creative interpretation, and finally, through to the App design team, who had to make the game matrix work on the tablet. Two years to be precise. So how did it begin?
For many years now, I have been visiting Nepal annually to explore the Himalayas. Over twenty-five, trips have seen me kayak down rivers, hike and fly mountains with my para-glider, and more recently conquer several of its 6500m peaks. It was on the last peak attempt to climb Ama Dablam, surely one of the world's most beautiful mountains, where I became convinced that some of the decisions we were making would make an excellent basis for a team game, and Peak Performance started to take shape.
At this time in 2014, and '15, Mount Everest had two disaster years back to back. In 2014 an ice fall killed 16 Sherpas.
In the wake of this tragedy, one of the trip leaders, who lost 5 of his Sherpas, came to stay with me in Lombok to recover and find peace. I learned much from him during our discussions, and some of his knowledge became the foundation for Peak Performance. The following year, on 25 April 2015, Nepal had a terrible earthquake, and 19 bodies were recovered from the ice fall. I knew an 'ice fall' would have to be an important part of the challenge, and I wanted to replicate the haphazard nature of crossing it and reveal the dangers.
Working on the matrix, we used real-life scenarios, looking at guides, high-altitude camps, the use of oxygen, different routes on the mountain, and the management of risk.
Peak Performance reveals how people perform different tasks in each successful bid for the summit. Weather plays a huge part, and so does faultless planning. But, planning needs to be agile and responsive to changing conditions on the mountain. We created the largest leader's guide of any activity we had ever designed. These manuals contain everything our hand-picked partners worldwide need to know to effectively prepare, deliver, and in this case, review the activity. Our in-house App development team were magnificent in interpreting and helping develop the outcomes of virtual actions.
Adding three-dimensional challenges, such as tent pitching and crossing ravines on ladders, adds that extra bit of fun to what is proving to be a challenging but enjoyable immersion in the world of high-altitude mountain climbing. Partners around the world are now availing themselves of guest speakers – people who have scaled these heights and can add that little bit extra to what is already a fantastic new activity.