080: Mike Hamill – Climbing The Seven Summits

Mike Hamill – Climbing The Seven Summits

Mike Hamill is the founder and lead guide for Climbing the Seven Summits. His company focuses on the 7 summits, and a few other select mountains that Mike finds special. Mike gets clients to the top over 90% of the time, more importantly, he always gets his clients home safe.

Mike cut his teeth climbing in the White and Adirondack mountains of the northeast. On these climbs, Mike, built his resume, while finding his passion and calling. In the 90’s when Mike first started collecting the 7 summits, he’s completed the circuit 6 times since then, he realized nobody had created a comprehensive guidebook.

Mike got to work. His book “Climbing the Seven Summits” describes in detail how to put together a campaign to accomplish the goal. Mike downloaded his experiences into the book: the pictures, secrets, training climbs–everything.

Getting to the Top

Hamill’s success in getting clients to the top of mountains is founded in their preparation. He refuses to cash checks to simply guarantee access to the mountain.

Aside–Over the years Hamill witnessed less professional guide companies take payment from climbers ill-prepared to take on Everest. Mike’s decades of experience informs how he runs climbs. He knows when to make a call, denying a client a summit, yet saving their lives. Mike was on Everest in both 2014 and 2015 when the mountain claimed nearly 40 lives. Mike witnessed inexperienced teams and crews put people in jeopardy and at times lose clients, for the sake of a summit. 

Rather he seeks climbers who build their summit resumes through progress, accumulating skills and experience rather than the ability to write a check.

Transition to the Boss

Now as the main guy at basecamp, Mike is the commander, he’s climbing less and coaching more. “I’m focused on logistics, weather, personalities, management, I’m the one person at basecamp overseeing the entire operation. Now, I hire the guides, people I know, they get the clients up the mountain.”

When Mike decided to start his own guide company, he gave up the safety of working for someone else. However, that sacrifice has rekindled his passion and unlocked love for his work, his clients and employees completely new ways.

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