Deciding to forge ahead or turn back is one of the hardest parts of a making a major career or life change. While it’s easy to celebrate the big risks that turn into phenomenal successes, we know it’s important to appreciate the crucial judgment calls made when risks get too high. Since these are frequently the unsung victories in life, we are excited to showcase one as a part of our work with Corning® Gorilla® Glass for their Incredibly Tough Video Series. As you recall, this video series highlights the stories of incredibly tough people, using incredibly tough devices, to do incredibly tough things.

Earlier this month Gorilla® Glass premiered its video Unexplored Earth, featuring one of National Geographic’s 2013 Adventurers of the Year, Mike Libecki. Mike is one of the world’s most accomplished rock climbers. His passion for rock climbing has lead him to over 100 countries and all seven continents, far beyond his climbs up Yosemite’s  El Capitan and Half Dome. Mike explores the world’s most remote, untouched places to make first ascents; summiting peaks no one has ever made it to before. Eight years ago, Mike learned about the spires of Ua Pou while on a trip to Papua New Guinea. Ua Pou is the third largest of the Marquesas Islands, in French Polynesia. At the center of Ua Pou are four majestic pillars that soar high above the islands other peaks. No one had ever summited these basalt pillars that rise 4,040 feet above sea level. Mike has been dreaming of being the first.

As a literal trail blazer, Mike is not a stranger to the risks and perils of rock climbing. He is meticulous about managing the risks he takes and finding beauty and joy in the entirety of every journey. Each trip starts with pre-expedition inventory, packing, and logistical preparation to assure he brings along the right gear for each ascent. Thoughtful preparation is the key to dealing with unpredictable travel, lost luggage, weather, and climbing conditions. As you can see from the amazing images of Mike’s Ua Pou expedition, there are many gorgeous reasons to appreciate the journey as well as the destination. Don’t miss a closer look at Mike’s trip to Ua Pou in the video below.


During his climbs, Mike continues to analyze the terrain to find the best, safest route to the top. For this ascent, he and his team even used a drone to help navigate the best way to the summit. The experience Mike has gained from over 70 excursions help him recognize when the risks of his ascents become too high. He knows falling rocks can be the deadliest condition to climb in noting “my two closest calls, when I stared death in the eyes, was rock fall.” With those conditions presenting themselves again on Ua Pou, Mike made the tough decision to call of his climb before he summited.  He noted that “sometimes success is walking away alive.”

Whether you are blazing a new trail in your career or deciding that the best way forward is to turn around, we know from experience that the tough calls in life are gut wrenching. At Project Eve, Meridith and I know that great things come from both the obvious wins and the opportunities where you live to fight another day.  There is value, experience, and lessons gained in each adventure.  Mike’s journey to Ua Pou is a great reminder for all of us that success isn’t always achieved at the summit. Every journey has its rewards. Take a moment to explore all the incredible images and video of Mike’s trip to Ua Pou. We are already looking forward to the next installment of the Corning® Gorilla® Glass Incredibly Tough Video Series.

A special thank you to Corning Incorporated for sponsoring this post.

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