What Is My Next Expedition?



A common question people ask me after one of my keynote presentations is “what’s next?”. The options are endless and sometimes it is hard to decide, but this time it was easy.

Since 2012 I have been volunteering with True Patriot Love to help organize, lead and guide their fund raising expeditions. These expeditions take a team of ill and injured soldiers and civilians on a challenging expedition. This trip is part therapy, part fundraising, part transition coaching, and all adventure.

In 2012 we trekked to Everest base camp and climbed Island Peak. In 2014 we skied the last degree to the magnetic North Pole, and in 2016 we climbed the highest peak in Antarctica. I will now be joining TPL for the 2018 Himalayas expedition where we will trek to Everest base camp and then climb Lobuche East.

The team has been assembled and I have just returned from a training camp we ran in Canmore, Alberta. This training camp was designed to focus on technical skill development and team building (as I always say, a relationship is the foundation of any high-performance team).

We spent the camp working on crampon technique, technical ice climbing, roped travel, crevasse rescue, gear review, clothing review and more. In between the adventure we got to know one another and share our motivations for being part of this expedition.

For many of the soldiers, it is about working past the challenges of physical limitations and PTSD and them making a transition out of the military to an unfamiliar civilian world. For the civilians, it is about helping the people who have given so much to our country and culture.

The training camp was very successful in all of these areas and we are now one step closer to making this expedition a reality. We will depart for Nepal at the end of March 2018 and return 3-4 weeks later.
Over the next while I will share with you more about the expedition objectives and the team members.




Clothing and Gear video

This clothing and gear video will help you better understand what you need to bring on the expedition. If you browse through some of the past expedition blogs you will also find some details and video about the trek to Everest base camp.


High Quality Team Development Training Programs


At Summit Team Building we have been known for 20 years for our high quality and applicable team development training programs. Our most commonly delivered training workshops focus on team development, leadership development, conflict management, change management, trust building, emotional intelligence, communication enhancement, SDI Strength Deployment Inventory, polarity management, and 360-degree feedback.

What you might not know is that we can also deliver amazing team development workshops in active listening, appreciative inquiry, coaching and mentoring, creative thinking and innovation, delegation, feedback, goal setting, motivation, NLP, problem-solving, process improvement, public speaking, sales and customer service, strategic planning, stress management, mindfulness, and more.

All our training program are custom designed to meet your learning and development goals. We have no ‘off the shelf’ programs. We take time to understand your team and your needs and we design a program just for you. We draw from our ‘menu’ of programs to combine all the critical elements to help your team meet your objectives.

While we have been known for close to 20 years as team and leadership trainers, we are so much more. The next time you have a training and development need give us a call. You know you can trust us to provide an engaging learning environment and high quality and relevant content.

Everest Expedition Video 6: Summit of Mount Everest

Hi and welcome to the sixth, and last, video in my Everest adventure series. On May 21, 2008, I stood on the summit of Mount Everest. It had taken years of training and almost two months of climbing to achieve this goal. It was an amazingly beautiful day. The temperature was only about -10c, there was very little wind, and the sky was clear of clouds. We spent about 30 minutes on the summit before heading down.

I will be adding more videos from Antarctica, The South Pole, The North Pole, Mount Vinson, Kilimanjaro and from my expeditions with True Patriot Love.


Close 2017 With High Performance



It is hard to believe that the end of 2017 is almost here. The last quarter is critical for most companies to finish strong with goals met. Fall conferences and team meetings play a big part in helping teams maintain their focus and drive to meet their goals. These meetings and conferences usually focus on strategy and goal review. Some teams are even starting to look at 2018 strategy and goals.

While these meetings are important do not let goal and strategy focus allow you to miss out on a critical opportunity to focus on the development of your team. Stephen Covey once said, “the front line produces the bottom line”. Whether this is a leadership meeting, a departmental or project team meeting it is imperative that you keep the team culture strong as it is team culture that drivers team results.

It has been said that “poor culture will eat great strategy for breakfast, and it will consume tools and technology by lunch”. A strong team culture built on a clear high-performance vision with strong relationships and open communication is what will get you to your goals time and time again.

A high-performance team is one that can achieve their goals year after year, in good times and in bad. Almost any team can be successful during good economic times, and even dysfunctional teams get lucky every now and then. But if you want to achieve and maintain high performance on a sustainable level you must focus on the development of your team culture.

In order to develop a high-performance team culture, you need to understand where you currently are. One tool used at Summit Team Building is the Group Styles Inventory. This easy to complete assessment provides your team with valuable insights as to their current team culture in 12 critical areas. We will examine factors such as achievement and collaboration that contribute positively towards team culture and conventional and power that contribute negative elements to team cultures and discuss where your team needs to focus to build and maintain high performance. Combine this with our High-Performance Team or High-Performance Leadership programs, our coaching buddy action planning and our director follow up guide and you can really set your team up for success.

If you do not have time for a workshop keep this in mind for the new year when you have more time, but for now consider bringing in a keynote speaker to inspire and educate the team for their final push to the summit. Summit Team Building provides two inspiring and educational keynote presentations Learning in Thin Air and Achieve The Outrageous. And if a keynote is not the right fit for this event consider a team building program to strengthen the foundation of your team.

We know that you have most likely booked your fall retreat already and are working on the agenda so do not forget to build in some time to develop the people and culture of the team if you want sustained high performance.

Kingbridge Centre

Kingbridge Conference Centre


At Summit Team Building we are constantly growing and developing to meet your team building and training workshop needs. Since 1997 we have been honing our craft and we are now one of the largest team building companies in the country. We have established a great reputation and are sought out by companies from coast to coast.

We have partnered with many leading meeting and conference venues to offer our team building and training programs to their guests. These high-quality venues know they can trust Summit Team Building to enhance their guest’s experience.

Our high-quality programs, professional delivery and stellar reputation have led us to our new and exciting partnership with The Kingbridge Conference Centre.

If you do not know the Kingbridge Conference Centre you should check them out www.kingbridgecentre.com. This beautiful and purpose-built meeting and conference facility are located at HWY400 and King Road just north of Canada’s Wonderland. For small groups and large, this facility has efficient meeting rooms, comfortable accommodation, fantastic dining, and acres of beautiful outdoor grounds with fields, trails and rivers providing great space for exercise and contemplation alike.

One of the unique features of the Kingbridge Centre is their ropes course. Ropes courses are one of my favourite team building tools. Nothing compares to the bonding experience of the ropes course and the personal and team learning opportunities are endless.

At Summit Team Building we have been running ropes course team building programs for 20 years and when Kingbridge needed someone to run their course they naturally turned to Summit. We have now developed an exciting new team development program at Kingbridge that is built on the metaphor of climbing a mountain. We start in the meeting room to lay a solid foundation for learning. The team then embarks on a journey to base camp through the winding trails on the property. Once at the ropes course, we move through the mountain camps on the various low rope team challenges and then climb to the summit on the high ropes course. It is a truly inspiring program and having a debrief beside a gently flowing river makes everything stand out that much more.

Many people think that the ropes course is too physical for their team, and while it is not for all groups, there are roles in a Summit ropes course program for all participants regardless of their ability or desire to climb.

Kingbridge also provides an amazing environment for our other team building programs including our Play it Forward philanthropic scavenger hunt program, our Search and Rescue team building adventure and our Put Your Chef Hat On culinary team building program.

Kingbridge is also a great location to facilitate our team development training workshops. Kingbridge was built for corporate meetings, retreats, and conferences. It is purpose built for this reason. The meeting rooms provide everything we need to deliver a top-notch training workshop and the indoor and outdoor environment provides countless breakout and reflection locations.

If you are looking for a great venue for a one-day or a multi-day meeting or conference check out The Kingbridge Conference Centre and how Summit Team Building can elevate your experience to new heights.

Everest Expedition Video 5: Climbing the Lhotse Face

Hi and welcome to the Fifth video in my Everest adventure series. Moving from camp 3 to camp 4 is a slow and painful process due to the lack of oxygen. The higher we go the harder it will become. Above camp 3 we start to breathe supplemental oxygen, but this does not eliminate all your problems. The oxygen gives you a boost, but climbing is still extremely difficult. In this video, you can see how slowly the climbers are moving. This is pretty much full speed on Everest.


Everest Keynote Update

Keynote Program

When I went climbing Mount Everest I did not go with the intention of developing a keynote or motivational presentation. I went on a personal journey to achieve a goal and to grow as a person. As a bonus, I found my experience, my story, was inspirational to others and could help them climb the mountains in their lives.

After telling my story informally the narrative began to develop into a more formalized keynote presentation with models, tools, strategies and techniques for building high-performance teams, for leadership, for overcoming challenge and change, and for achieving big goals.

Since 2009 I have shared my motivational keynote with over 450 groups and over 75,000 people. I am constantly tweaking and adding to my presentation and earlier this year I felt it was time for a complete refresh.
Working with a graphic designer I clarified my ideas and updated my presentation into a new updated version of Learning In Thin Air. This presentation is even more powerful than the original. As with any professional, I do not believe I can rest on what works today, but I must always be growing for tomorrow.

I am excited to now be using this new presentation and hope to share it with as many teams as possible. So the next time you are looking for a speaker for your next team meeting or conference give me a call and ask how my motivational keynote can add value to your event and help your teams climb their Mount Everest.

Everest Expedition Video 4: Ice Fall

Hi and welcome to the fourth video in my Everest adventure series. After acclimatizing for a few days at base camp we begin to make our way up the Khumbu Ice Fall. This river of ice is constantly shifting and is one of the more dangerous elements to climb as you make your way up Everest. Our first trip to camp 1 may take us 8-10 hours, but we will get faster as our bodies acclimatize. Due to the broken nature of the ice in the icefall, we work with a group of Sherpas called the Ice Fall Doctors who put ladders across the cracks establishing the route from base camp to camp 1.



Achieve The Outrageous Keynote


Achieve the Outrageous is a new keynote by Scott Kress. This keynote is a new offering to add to his extremely popular Learning in Thin Air Keynote. The discussion below will give you insight into Scott’s latest adventure and the resulting keynote.

Q: What is Achieve the Outrageous?

A: Achieve the Outrageous is my new keynote based on my 2016 expedition to cross Antarctica on foot from the coast to the South Pole.

Q: Tell us about this expedition?

A: In November of 2016 I headed to Antarctica with three friends to travel on foot to the South Pole. Our plan was to follow in the footsteps of the early Antarctic explorers. We would start at the coast and travel by cross-country ski for close to 1000km to reach the South Pole. To make it as true as possible to the original explorers we would travel in what is called an unsupported and unassisted fashion. In other words, we would do it the hard way.

Q: What does unsupported and unassisted mean and why is this special.

A: Unassisted means that we would travel under our own power only. We would have no assistance from snowmobile, kite, sled dogs or any other advantage. Unsupported means we would have no support from the outside world to drop re-supplies to lighten our load. This means that all we would need for 50 days of travel we would start with and drag in sleds the entire distance. A supported expedition sled may weigh 30 kilos, ours would weigh closer to 130 kilos. An assisted trip would move fast because of the light weight. Unassisted we would need closer to 45-50 days. Why is this special? Because very few people have ever done it this way.

Q: What was the expedition like? Tell us about it?

A: The expedition was one of the greatest things I have ever done, but it was also one of the most difficult things I have ever done physically and mentally. Every day for 44 days we would pull our sleds across the extremely difficult terrain in sub-zero temperatures. Our bodies took a beating from the physical exertion and the repetitious nature of the journey. Our minds took a beating from the discomfort, the pain, the loneliness and the isolation.

Every day, regardless of the weather or how you were feeling, we would get up, make breakfast, break camp, put on our skis, hook up to our sled and pull. The days were long and hard, but we had no choice if we wanted to achieve our goal.

Q: How did you work together as a team?

A: We were a great team. I knew two of the members prior to the trip and knew we would work together well. The fourth member of the team was well known one of the other members so we all knew we were a solid team. We had to start with a team of people we felt could take it physically and mentally. If one person had to be extracted for any reason we would lose our unassisted and unsupported status so we had to work together and support one another physically and emotionally.

We spent time up front discussing our vision of teamwork and clarifying our roles and the style in which we wanted to complete the trip. We were all committed to this and it made decision making easy.

Q: What was the hardest part of the expedition?

A: At first it was difficult mentally. The isolation and monotony would tear at your mind all day every day. We all tried strategies from music to meditation to combat this and all found our personal coping strategies after about a week. As the trip went on it was the physical punishment that became most difficult and this contributed to the mental and emotional challenge. Blisters, muscle aches, pulled tendons, frost bite, sun burn, wind burn, polar thigh, sore backs, hips and shoulders were the norm. Every one of us suffered physically from the day-after-day non-stop physical beating. When the snow conditions were bad, the wind was raging, and the visibility was zero this made it even more difficult.

Q: How did you come up with the content for the Achieve the Outrageous keynote?

A: As I was skiing 8-10 hours a day I had a lot of time inside my own head. We could not easily talk to one another as we skied and at breaks, we were often too tired and too focused on fixing gear or self-care to talk. As I was skiing, I marvelled at how difficult what we were doing was. I began to wonder what allowed this to happen and I asked myself “how do you achieve the outrageous?”. In an almost meditative state, the ideas came to me. Those that did not fit, kept on going, and those that did fit stuck and I boiled it down to seven points that I felt allowed me to achieve the outrageous. Everyone will have their own, but I think my seven will connect with most people and when applied can help those people achieve the outrageous in their lives.

Q: Who would benefit from this keynote?

A: I believe anyone looking to achieve something big. This could be personal or in business, but if you want to achieve something big, something outrageous, I believe my story and my insights will help to inspire and motivate you and to give you focus in some specific areas to help you achieve your goal.

Q: How is this keynote different from your Learning in Thin Air keynote based on your climb of Mount Everest?

A: My Everest keynote is very much focused on high-performance team development, leadership and teamwork. In Achieve the Outrageous I focus more on the personal elements that one needs to achieve their goals. Yes, we were a team, but so much of the South Pole expedition was about personal determination, focus and perseverance. Yes, we did it as a team, but every person had to do it individually. We had to get up, fulfil our role, and persevere every day and nobody could do that for us. This is a much more personal story in many ways.