Luca Colli is an Italian personal trainer, guide, and motivational speaker, who will attempt to climb Mt. Everest (8,848 m or approximately 29,029 ft) without skis or oxygen, and ST has the honor of being one of his sponsors. We will follow his progress on the blog and invite you to share messages of support in the comment section below. Luca already climbed five of the Seven Summits (Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Mont Blanc, Mount Wilhelm) and even got the first world record for his climb of Mount Aconcagua (6,962 m or approximately 22,840 ft) from the North-West Side in less than 14 hours. Mount Everest will be his sixth before attempting Vinson and becoming the first mountaineer to climb the Seven Summits from base camp to the top, without skies or oxygen, if all goes well.
Beyond the personal accomplishment, Luca Colli is also attempting a humanitarian effort as all the funds raised beyond the cost of the expedition will go toward the construction of a school in Nepal that an earthquake tore down in 2015. Luca partnered with ActionAid who will lead the reconstruction efforts in the suburbia of Katmandu in the hope of raising an establishment that can welcome 600 students. As we sat down with Luca, it was clear that climbing 8,000 meters is one of the hardest physical accomplishments that a person can undertake, and we decided to understand the challenge better and how Luca partnered with ST for this expedition. You can also check out the video below to learn how Luca and ST met and how mountaineering is in his blood.
The Challenge, Tracking in the “Death Zone.”
There’s a physical challenge as the human body behaves very differently at 8,000 meters. Luca continues to train intensively to prepare for these harsh conditions that can lead to significant migraines, starvation, and altitude sickness. Mountaineers refer to the region above 8,000 meters as the “Death Zone” and the 2018 season saw five reported deaths, one of them being the famous Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki. Mr. Colli currently conditions his body as best as possible and will leave Italy for base camp in April to acclimate himself before the weather window opens around the middle of May.
As Luca explained:
“You never conquer a peak. It’s the mountain that permits you to climb and one ought to be humble and respectful. Never approach a mountain as a conqueror, but as a man coming to a deity. Respect means listening as the mountain is sending signals telling climbers whether it’s OK to go ahead or not. Humility means acknowledging that Everest may be out of reach at the moment.“
For the first time, Luca Colli will also carry ST with him in his pocket, in the form of a sensor module. He usually only climbs with a GPS to track his route and elevation, but with our components, he will have an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a pressure sensor, and many other tools to get more data on his performance. Despite the extreme temperatures and environmental conditions, such as a low oxygen density, we expect the sensors to perform well since our components typically have a wide range of operating temperatures. Tibetan law also mandates that a Sherpa follow him during his ascension, but Luca will have the luxury of bringing his sensor module with him back to Italy for further analysis, something quite impossible with a Sherpa.
The Lesson, There’s Still So Much More to Accomplish
When we asked what Luca would change if he had a magic wand, we were surprised to hear that one of his wishes would be an even more comprehensive sensor module. As he declared:
“I wish I had a device that could track my surroundings, such as my elevation, movements, and temperatures, as well as my personal and biological measurements, such as my heart rate, my blood pressure, and other vital characteristics. Ideally, a system would then transmit all these data points to a remote doctor that could follow my progress and assist me in the event of a complication.”
His testimony highlights the need for greater IoT platforms that can tackle new health challenges. We already have demos and Discovery Kits integrating cellular modules and a myriad of projects from companies and universities that show how a small sensor module can become a machine learning platform. We already demoed the work of partners that can track blood volume changes in original ways, such as Valencell. It thus seems that Luca’s dream may not be so far from reality after all and that instead of a magic wand, he may just need a handful of innovators to lead the way.
What Is Your Everest?
Another wish Luca expressed was that his experience inspires people to keep on dreaming. Regardless of one’s station in life, it is crucial to hang on the goals and personal projects that sometimes fall by the wayside after a busy work day or the simple rhythm of life. Luca’s message is that people don’t need to climb Everest to be fulfilled or do something extraordinary, but they need to hang onto their dreams and keep walking towards them, one step at a time. The positive and enthusiastic reception he got from ST employees and management, as he presented his project, filled him with the assurance that the company and its people have a similar vision and we encourage all our collaborators and partners to keep their dreams alive as we all climb our Everest.
- April 16, 2019: Luca Colli arrived at Everest’s Base Camp. Here are the latest news and pictures of his epic journey.