New heights, new challenges

Michael Ellenby uses his experience challenging Mount Everest to motivate others to achieve success. — Photo courtesy Michael Ellenby

At age 54, Michael Ellenby was looking for a new challenge.

After spending decades working with Fortune 500 companies, and undertaking challenges like Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mount Agung in Indonesia, he was ready for the big one: Mount Everest.

In March of last year, Ellenby and his nephew completed the 120-mile round trip hike to Everest’s base camp, situated at 19,000 feet.

Along with braving the freezing cold, Ellenby ate only bland starches for the 12-day trek, and at one point hiked in an atmosphere with nearly 50 percent less oxygen than at sea level.

“It was the most psychologically challenging experience of my life,” he said. “But it was also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”

He says the physical preparation prior to the hike made a huge difference, but it was his mental attitude that got him to base camp.

Ellenby is now channeling his experiences in his venture as a motivational speaker, educating people on the challenge of setting and achieving goals.

He works with local businesses around the Valley to help them reach success. He even has his own audio CDs, including one titled “Winning Strategies for the Game of Life.”

“It’s easy to set goals,” he says, “and achieving goals is simple, but not easy. It’s all in the psychology.”

Ellenby uses his past experiences, including the Everest hike, to illustrate to people that if they set goals and have the right mindset, they will succeed.

“The pursuit of excellence will spread to everything you do—career, relationships, finances,” he says.

So now that he’s made it to Everest’s base camp, will he try again for the summit?

Maybe one day. His love of traveling may lead him to the “Seven Summits,” a challenge to hike the highest peaks in all seven continents.

“I’ve already done three and a half—only four and a half to go,” he said.

More information on Ellenby and his program can be found at .


  1. i always knew he would become a legend. Back in IBM Australia , last century ,he was a stand out type of guy.
    Often ran up the stairs instead of waiting for the lift (elevator) like the rest of us
    Well done Mike


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