A year ago, I had the great fortune of interviewing Cory Richards. The adventurer had recently completed a third attempt to ascend Everest without oxygen for the second time using a new line, and I was keen to know more about his story.
To understand the difficulty of climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen, realise that only about 200 people have summitted Everest without tanks. The other 4,800 or so who have reached the top brought oxygen along with them. When you couple that with the fact that Richards was trying out a new line (30 per cent of mountaineers who veer from the marked-out path and fixed lines on the way to the Everest summit pass away), you understand the enormity of the task that Richards was trying to accomplish.
Richards might have failed in his third attempt (he failed on his first attempt in 2012 and succeeded on his second try in 2016), but the adventurer never beat himself up. I remembered asking him why completing Everest without oxygen was so important to him. His reply was: “Instead of humans pulling Everest down to our level, I want to pull myself up to Everest’s level and give the mountain the respect it deserves.”
That interview still remains as one of the most memorable in my career.
So, when Rolls-Royce highlighted Cory Richards as its latest subject in its series of Inspiring Greatness films, I thought it was the perfect collaboration. Previous collaborators included artist Refik Anadol, artist Dr. Esther Mahlangu and fashion photographer Rankin.
The film explores Richards’ thoughts on taking risks, and touches on his never-ending quest for perfection, or at least his version of it.
“If we don’t take risks, we don’t fail. And if we don’t fail, we don’t learn.” Words to live by. I salute you Cory Richards. Watch the awe-inspiring 2-minute film with Rolls-Royce below.