At 80, Werner Berger is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for the 7th time. Why? “To celebrate my birthday at the top on July 16, and, of more importance, to inspire individuals of all ages to live their lives with greater passion, purpose, health and fulfillment”, he tells us.
He then adds, “This is the launch of ‘Quest736, The Game is not Over’ – seven summits, seven continents in 36 months”.
We immediately wanted to ask what this was all about, but more importantly: Who the heck is this guy?
Well, he is one of your neighbours; a part-time Bucks County resident and a Guinness World records holder as the oldest person on earth to have climbed the seven summits; the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, including Mt. Everest. We asked him why he would be climbing at his age and planning to re-climb the seven? His casual response, “Because I love doing it and to inspire others to live their lives ‘out loud’.”
What we found fascinating was that at age 57 he dreamt up a challenge for himself. His bucket list included hiking to Mr. Everest Base Camp, hiking to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro and climbing the Matterhorn. Never did he even think any of this would come to pass.
We have all heard the phrase “careful what you wish for”. Well, in Berger’s case he got what he wished for and more.
Had he ever thought he’d one day be standing on the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro? His instant reply, “No never”, followed by, “at least, not until I had climbed a few of the higher continental points. Only then did the seven summits jump to mind.”
Berger climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro at the age of 69. And now, 10 years later he is stepping out to re-climb the seven summits (with Everest as the first) within the next 36 months.
To Berger, living your life out loud includes re-awakening your adventurous spirit, overcoming the “I can’t do this or that” syndrome. It’s about reconnecting with yourself in a meaningful manner by finding that zest for life we all had as unencumbered children, becoming the leader we were all meant to be, re-bonding with nature, and re-discovering the true meaning of awe.