Ravil Chamgoulov is a modern-day adventurer, having climbed hundreds of mountains, completed the 7 Summits (highest peaks on each continent) and raising thousands of dollars for charity through his climbing
From Ravil’s website – 8 Summits:
“Mt. Everest summiter and elite high-altitude climber, Ravil Chamgoulov is awarded the rare and prestigious mountaineering designation of “Snow Leopard”. Ravil has successfully climbed the highest mountains of all seven continents: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Antarctica.
In May 2015 Ravil will climb the highest peak of Arctic Mt. Gunnbjorn. The ultimate goal of Ravil with the Arctic climb is to raise awareness of the deterioration of the Arctic ice cap and glaciers melting. Ravil will be the first man to have ever ascended the highest summits of all seven continents and the Arctic! The highest peak in the Arctic, Mt. Gunnbjorn is located in Greenland north of the Arctic Circle in a very remote, cold, and rarely visited area.”
I’ve had the incredible opportunity to meet and chat with Ravil and he’s been a great support for some adventure projects I am planning.
Last week I had the chance to interview him about his life of adventures and mountain climbing and I’m super excited to share it with you.
Here’s 10 Questions with Russian-Canadian Adventurer Ravil Chamgoulov..
Q1. Ravil on May 25th of 2014 you stood on top of Mt Everest, what was that like?
Standing on top of Mt Everest was a very emotional experience that I will never forget. It was 7 o’clock in the morning. I climbed all night, and the sun just recently appeared above the surrounding mountains on the East. The entire world was below me. I felt a mix of emotions – a sense of achievement (I did it!), a uniqueness of the moment (not a place I would likely be again any more time). I also felt a pressure of responsibility – I had to take pictures with my sponsors’ flags.
Q2. Summiting Everest concluded your journey of summiting the highest peak on each continent – The Seven Summits – what made you spend a good portion of your life focused on this one goal?
I climbed hundreds of mountains in my life, but those seven summits, the highest peaks of seven continents stand aside. It took almost 10 years for me to complete, though some of them (Elbrus and Kilimanjaro) I climbed multiple times. This Seven Summits project is very adventurous, it brings one to absolutely different places, and it is well defined – you need to climb all 7, not 5 or 6.
Q3. You’ve been climbing mountains for what seems like a lifetime, how did this journey of mountaineering start?
It started incidentally, as many things in our lives. One day I was going home and saw the mountaineering club’s advertisement on the wall of University building near my home. They invited new members. So I went to the meeting to find what it is all about.
A year later I had to make a decision. I was actively involved in five different sports and had some achievements or awards in all of them. It was time consuming; I had to make a choice. I choose what I loved the most – mountaineering.
Q4. A big part of my journey, and Mavrixx is about how things impact our brains and mental health. How has climbing impacted yours?
I guess the only impact mountain climbing has on my mental state is that it makes me feel better emotionally. However, lack of oxygen, especially at high-altitude climbs may affect your brains and slow your reactions. The proper mean to avoid that is good acclimatization.
Q5. I can only imagine how lonely, fear-filled and scary some of these climbs could have been for you, especially seeing as how you climbed most of them solo. What’s the biggest mental struggle you faced through climbing and what tools did you use to overcome it?
Fear is a part of the game. In order to survive you need to control it. Let’s imagine that we put a long log on the grass in the backyard, and asked people to walk on it. Most will do that successfully. But if we put the same log between two buildings, and the same people will try to cross, most will fall down. Fear will make their brain send wrong signals to the muscles and will disturb physical coordination. Therefore psychological training is very important.
Climbing solo adds additional level of hazards on top of that. You are moving un-roped, most of the time without any protection. I climbed a number of mountains solo, including five out of the Seven Summits. The other two I climbed un-guided and alone, but used logistics from the others.
Q6. Climbing requires a lot of training, skill-development, energy and often money. I remember being in college and dreaming about getting into mountaineering and these barriers seemed pretty big. What’s your advice for the young guys and gals who are interested in mountaineering, but not sure where to start?
My advice to those who is interested in mountaineering is: join the mountaineering club, take some training courses, and go hiking/climbing as many mountains as you can. But never jump to the next level of difficulties before you got comfortable with the previous one. I can recommend the British Columbia Mountaineering Club (BCMC) I am a proud member of.
Q7. One of the biggest barriers people face with climbing adventures is the cost. How do you fund these global adventures?
Funding is usually a big challenge for mountaineering expeditions. When I was getting ready for my Mt. Everest last year, I spent basically the same amount of time looking for funding as for my training.
Of cause I spend a lot of money from my pocket, but I am happy I had sponsors for most of my climbs, such as BCMC, FreshSlice Pizza, and many others. Many of my friends, colleagues, and people I know, and people I don’t know personally donated as well to support my climbs.
Q8. Your next adventure is coming up very soon, as an extension of your 7 Summits journey. Can you share some details?
I will climb the highest peak in Arctic in May 2015. The mountain, Mt. Gunnbjörn is located in Greenland, north of the Arctic Circle in a very remote, cold, and rarely visited area. Many people are climbing the Seven Summits, but nobody added the highest peak of Arctic to that list, though the Greenland is in the size of a continent itself.
I am leaving in one month from now. My ultimate goal with this climb is to raise awareness of the deterioration of the Arctic ice, and Arctic glaciers melting. The ice cover in the Arctic reached a record low this winter – 1.1 million square kilometers below the average in the last 30 years.
Q9. That’s pretty awesome!! I’d love to know how we can support you on this journey. Can you share some ways people can offer support?
I have started a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for my Arctic expedition.
If you wish to make a small donation, please visit my website http://www.8summits.com/. In the Individual Proposal you will find Givebacks I created as a way to say thank you for being a supporter.
Q10. Ravil, thanks so much for making the time to spread some ideas and inspiration. Any parting thoughts, especially for that young person who might have lost hope, yet still has big dreams?
Climb on! Everybody has a mountain to climb.
Brent: Could’t have said it better myself!! If you like this content, make sure to Like this post and Like Mavrixx on Facebook to join the conversation and stay in touch!!
Keep Well and Keep Rockin!!