Fun Facts and Interesting Insights into Alan’s Life – Work, Adventures, Family and Leisure

Feel free to use this information for bio and introduction purposes or just to get to know Alan

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About Alan

Alan is an international speaker, author and performance coach who is passionate about leadership and reaching new heights in all that we do! His unique philosophy of life revolves around empowering people and embracing an agile mentality focused on goals and results. By understanding what drives and motivates us, we are able to cultivate more innovative and effective ways of thinking and taking action.

Alan holds a degree in engineering from Queen’s University and a masters in psychology from Adler University, giving him a well-balanced approach to the outer and inner challenges we all face. Alan has worked internationally with large organizations as a professional engineer and project manager developing patents and solutions to complex challenges in the mining and metals industry. Living and working abroad has given him the opportunity to deepen his understanding of individual and team challenges, better appreciate cultural diversity and successfully adapt to different organizational structures.

Building experience through a lifestyle of adventure and challenge, in the spring of 2008 Alan embarked on the journey of a lifetime and set a world record on Mount Everest along with three members of his immediate family. It was a two-month expedition through some of the most exciting yet terrifying conditions imaginable and their success demanded an unwavering perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity. Alan delivers a number of exciting presentations and training programs designed to help individuals, team members and organizations reach new heights in the way we think and the actions we take in order to achieve breakthrough performance.

Professional Speaker

Alan is a gifted speaker who speaks regularly around North America and beyond. His stories and stage presence are captivating and the visuals that compliment his speaking make the entire experience a rewarding and memorable one for his audience.

Alan specializes in developing great leaders by establishing and reinforcing the professional development skills and mindsets that are essential for success. His true passion is in working with people to reach new heights in the way we think and the actions we take. Alan has always had a keen interest in discovering what drives us to do what we do and how we can use this knowledge to improve our overall health and happiness.

Alan’s engaging presentations and interactive training programs help organizations and individual contributors achieve breakthrough performance. By integrates his many years of innovative leadership experience with captivating mountaineering and adventure stories, Alan create a powerful and unforgettable journey for his audiences.

Author

Alan is the author of The Family that Conquered Everest. Richly illustrated with photos from the expedition and other outdoor exploits, the book is a fast-paced and engaging adventure story that also highlights the lifestyle and family values that prepared the Mallory family for success. It explains the thinking and planning that went in to making their attempt possible, the logistical nightmares that they had to circumvent and the strategies that they developed to continue moving forward in spite of the seemingly impassable obstacles and ever-changing environments they were faced with. Their unique journey has mesmerized and inspired families and individuals around the world and the book brings their journey to life in a whole new way.

The book is much more than an exciting adventure though. It is also very inspirational from the standpoint of family success and togetherness. Throughout the book, Alan explores and explains the many family adventures and dynamics that enabled the Mallorys to take on such a challenge together. Collaborating and looking out for each another was paramount on the expedition as was being able to quickly and effectively resolve conflicts that arose. Many teams fell apart and had to give in to defeat if they could simply not get along and function as a single unit. The Mallorys success is a fantastic example of the importance of strong principles and maintaining a deep level of trust between team members.

Alan has also included a short excerpt written by each of his family members, when they had a particularly extraordinary or inspiring experience that was best told in their own words. Each member of the team had different thoughts and experiences on the mountain and different points of view adding unique perspectives to the book.

The underlying messages throughout the book are about personal development and finding the spark within each of us that drives us to do the things we do. By controlling our focus and concentrating on the things we are most passionate about, we are capable of accomplishing great things. It is our own reservations and limiting beliefs about ourselves that hold us back. If we can overcome these self-imposed limitations, there is nothing that we cannot achieve.

Everest

Climbing Mount Everest is considered one of mankind’s greatest feats of endurance. The grueling expedition to the top of the world’s highest peak is a journey filled with unparalleled physical and mental challenges and some of the roughest, most extreme conditions imaginable.

In 2008, Alan Mallory and his family took on the challenge and became the first family of four to set foot on the summit. It was a two-month journey filled with emotion, loyalty, boldness and terror and the experiences the team encountered during the expedition were as incredible as they were terrifying. From staggering across ladders spanning bottomless crevasses and fighting the many altitude-related sicknesses to climbing through a blizzard in the dead of night and two members of the team almost losing their lives forever, every segment of the climb was an exhilarating venture.

The idea of attempting to climb Mount Everest originally began with my father.  We were sitting around the dinner table one evening about two years before we departed for the expedition when my father casually posed the question of who amongst us would be interested in attempting to climb Mount Everest.  I didn’t give it much thought at the time but I said it sounded like a challenge that I would be interested in and my brother and sister responded similarly.  That’s how it all started and over the subsequent two year period I began to think more and more about the mountain and soon it became a personal goal of mine that I felt a strong drive inside of me to attempt to reach.

Although there were a lot of logistics we had to deal with in the two year time period before we departed on the expedition, the majority of the logistics came together in the final two months before the climb. Many things took a significant amount of time and energy and were very difficult for us to coordinate including gear purchases from all over the world and getting the family together to discuss and organize our approach as Adam, Laura and I were all living in different cities at the time. Eventually we were able to make everything fall into place at the last minute and the date of our departure arrived.

On April 5th, 2008 Dad, Laura and I flew out of Toronto towards our first destination of Kathmandu, Nepal.  Adam had to fly over a few days later because of school commitments and mom had flown a week earlier because she wanted a bit of extra time to acclimatize.

After spending a few days in Kathmandu, acquiring the gear that we were unable to bring with us from Canada, we took another smaller flight to the village of Lukla near the outskirts of the Himalayan Mountains.  A ten day trek brought us and our huge amount of gear and supplies into Base Camp where we would establish our home base for the two month expedition.

We used an outfitter for our Mount Everest Expedition which was a little different for us.  On other mountains we had not used an outfitter but it is almost a necessity on Everest because of the very long period of time and the frequent movement between camps for acclimatization.  Someone needs to replenish the food supplies and provide the many tents and safety equipment so this is where an outfitter comes in.  We opted not to climb as part of the main group, however, so that we would have the freedom to make our own climbing decisions and rely on our own experience.

Once at Base Camp we settled in to the small dome climbing tents that were pitched on icy jagged rock surface of the Khumbu Glacier. The glacier is continuously moving so Base Camp is always changing shape as the ice slowly melts and changes shape beneath the tents. It seemed like a comfortable enough place at first but two months is a long time to spend on a mountain and before long it became quite miserable with all the sicknesses, hardships and the lack of hygiene facilities.

Because of the extreme height of Everest, climbers need to acclimatize in order to be able to continue up to higher altitudes. This is the main reason why it takes so long to scale the mountain. A lot of the deaths on Everest are a result of climbers gaining altitude too fast and not allowing their bodies to go through the necessary acclimatization changes. This mistake of climbing too fast will lead to acute mountain sickness and eventually your small blood vessels will constrict and rupture causing Pulmonary or Cerebral Edema. Pulmonary Edema is when this rupturing of small blood vessels causes your blood to leak into your lungs eventually leading to partial suffocation and it can be recognized by a gurgling sound when talking or breathing. Cerebral Edema is even more serious and is when the blood leaks into your brain. It can cause all sorts of problems including extreme dizziness, blindness and eventually death if the climber is not brought to a lower altitude very quickly. We met climbers during the expedition with both of these edemas so it is not an uncommon occurrence and extreme care needs to be taken in properly acclimatizing before continuing to climb higher. At altitudes lower than Base Camp, limiting the speed of your ascent is sufficient for proper acclimatization but above Base Camp we had to do an up-and-back approach where we made progressively longer acclimatization climbs up the mountain each time returning to Base Camp to allow our bodies to recover and the acclimatization changes to take place. Above Base Camp we encountered the infamous Khumbu Icefall which is essentially a steep incline of cascading chunks of ice created as parts of the continuously moving Western Cwm Glacier break off and slide or tumble down towards Base Camp. It takes about eight hours to climb through the icefall and because of our up-and-back acclimatization process we had to pass through the icefall a total of six times. The enormous blocks of ice, called seracs, move 1 – 2 meters (3 – 6 feet) per day and it is quite a dangerous section to go through because the seracs can fall at any time creating ice avalanches and a number of climbers have been killed by this falling ice.

By far the most nerve-wrecking aspect of the Khumbu Icefall is that the continuous movement of the ice creates very wide cracks or crevasses which are hundreds of feet deep and we had to cross them on aluminum ladders many times tied end to end by thin rope.

After an 8 hour climb through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall, we finally arrived at Camp 1. Camp 1 is almost always windy making it very cold and not a very enjoyable or safe place to stay. However, after our first climb through the icefall, the tents were a much welcomed sight.

Climbing to Camp 2 we followed the edge of the Western Cwm Glacier, quite close to the steep-walled base of Mount Nupse. The route is located here to avoid the massive crevasses in the center of the Western Cwm but one has to be careful of avalanches off of Mount Nupse as many of these avalanches sweep right across the route we were on.

Camp 3 is half way up the Lhotse Face which is a 6000-vertical-foot steep, icy face. Climbing on the face was a challenge because of the incline and because of the constant threat of ice, rocks and other objects that careen down the face from above with very little warning. Dad and Laura had some close calls on the Lhotse Face with huge rocks coming at them from above. The tents at Camp 3 were connected by climbing ropes and caution needed to be taken to ensure we clipped into the ropes when climbing between tents because a fall from Camp 3 will result in tumbling all the way down the Lhotse Face back towards Camp 2, a mistake that has claimed a number of climbers lives in years past.

Our first climb to Camp 3 was just for acclimatization and we had to head all the way back down to Base Camp afterwards to recover. After our second time to Camp 3, however, we continued on, using our oxygen masks for the first time at a very low oxygen flow rate just to preserve our energy for higher up.

Before arriving at Camp 4 we had to scale the Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur. These huge rock formations were extremely difficult to surmount because of the low amount of available oxygen. It seemed to take all my energy to put one foot in front of the other and it was an extremely slow process.

Finally, after at least eight hours of climbing from Camp 3, we arrived at Camp 4 which is at an altitude of 8000 m (26000ft). The howling wind roaring across the barren rock and ice made it a very desolate looking place. Camp 4 is in what is known as the “Death Zone” which is the area above 8000 m where there isn’t enough available oxygen to support life. Your body is continuously degrading and spending more than a few days at that altitude is very risky. Almost every year there are a few climbers that lose their lives in the Death Zone and the year we were there was no exception.

After arriving in Camp 4, we had a few hours to replenish our water supplies by melting snow and ice before we departed again that night with no sleep on our 12 hour summit attempt. We each wore a small head lamp which would be guiding us through the night. Laura was very sick and was unable to continue climbing with us. She called us on the radio and told us she was heading back to Camp 4 and the three of us continued on along with our two Sherpas (local Nepalese climbers who climbed with us).

The climb during that night was probably the biggest challenge of the expedition. There was a terrific blizzard most of the night and the blowing snow and ice on the climbing ropes iced up our mechanical ascenders rendering them useless at times and causing us to fall significant distances down the steep South Face. Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity of climbing, we arrived at the Balcony, a small plateau on the South-East Ridge of Everest. From the Balcony we turned and started heading steeply up the South-East ridge which eventually brought us to the South Summit.

From the South Summit we could see the actual summit of Everest and our spirits were lifted. However, we still had about a two hour climb across the treacherous Summit Ridge. The Ridge had a lot of jagged, exposed rock and the steel crampons we were wearing on our mountaineering boots were constantly slipping on the rock.

It was an incredible feeling when we finally surmounted the last jagged rock section and trudged our way slowly up the last snowy crest to the summit of the highest mountain in the world. Wow! The feeling of finally reaching our goal was absolutely incredible.

Although we had achieved what we had set out to achieve, the challenge wasn’t over yet. The way down is considered by many climbers to be even more dangerous than the way up because of the complete mental and physical exhaustion. In fact, many climbers have lost their lives on the way down and we had our two biggest scares on the descent.

My terrifying experience hit me just after I have started down the Summit Ridge and I ran out of oxygen. I won’t go into a lot of detail on this website about the specifics surrounding this frightening occurrence but it was a very serious and sobering experience. It involved both human and equipment error and led to the onset of edema symptoms that got severe enough that I could not control my movements and I thought that I was going to perish on the mountain. I can assure you that this type of event when you truly think that you are going to lose your life has a profound and very deep effect on a person.

Our second terrifying scare took us by surprise the following day after Laura, who had been too sick to climb with Dad, Adam and I, headed off towards the summit by herself except for the one Sherpa who was with her. We went through a very long period of radio silence with no word from her and we were beginning to fear for the worst.

Thankfully, we are all still around to tell the story and we were able to successfully reach our end goal as well. Although it is not a journey I would want to embark on again, it was an incredibly fulfilling and character-building experience that will remain with each of us for the remainder of our lives.

The biggest challenge about the mountain is mentally preparing yourself for the immensely long period of time it takes and all the hardships the mountain creates.  This mental difficulty is the reason in my opinion why only about 29% of the dedicated climbers make it to the summit.  With the incredible challenges and hardships that climbers encounter, it is almost impossible to convince yourself to keep going and not to give up.

One of the greatest advantages that we had, and one of the main reasons I believe we were successful when so many are not, is that we were climbing as a family and we looked out for each other that much more than climbers who were relative strangers might in similar situations. On Everest the level of available oxygen is so low that we were running on a third mental capacity and expedition members need to work as one collaborative unit in order to be successful.

Our Everest expedition is a very powerful story and one that portrays and is very relevant to many of the challenges and difficulties that we are faced with and have to overcome in our day-to-day lives. During my keynote presentations and interactive workshops, I combine many of the images, short videos and anecdotes from the expedition along with other relevant sources and information to create a message that is informative, entertaining and most importantly instills and enforces the purpose and objectives of each particular event.

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Avid Adventurer and Explorer

Throughout his life Alan has enjoyed and sought out new and exciting activities whenever he could. Living life to the absolute fullest is what he tries to do and he encourages everyone he meets and associates with to do the same. Alan is a true explorer and avid adventurer who enjoys many diverse and challenging activities.

Alan is a believer in the impact that participating in adventures as a family has on the development and upbringing of youth. Incorporating outdoor activities into everyday life keeps life interesting and allows us to fully immerse ourselves in the beauty of our surroundings. Experiencing the incredible opportunities that nature and adventure provide is one of the secrets to a rich and rewarding life. Alan is very thankful to have been brought up in a close-knit and adventuresome family and he is doing his best to pass on similar experiences to his own children.

If you're not living on the edge...
You’re taking up too much space 🙂

Family

In 2010, Alan married his beautiful wife, Natalie, and one week after their honeymoon, they packed their bags and relocated to Santiago, Chile where they lived for almost two years working and exploring the many exciting places that Chile has to offer. They then relocated again to Scottsdale, Arizona where they lived for an additional two years before relocating back to Ontario, Canada where they now call home. In the summer of 2013, Alan and his wife welcomed the next generation of Mallorys into this world with the birth of their daughter, Aria Mallory and in 2016 they welcomed their son, Oaklan Mallory.

Alan and Natalie enjoy running, biking, swimming, hiking and many other excursions with their son and daughter. Aria must be a Mallory because she tends to climb up on everything that she sees!

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P.E.
PMP

Engineering and Professional Affiliations

Alan studied engineering at Queen’s University and graduated as a Mechanical Engineer. He is licensed to practice in Ontario, Alberta and Arizona as a Professional Engineer and has worked in many countries around the world developing innovative solutions and custom machinery. He has a keen interest in inventing new devices and methodologies and has multiple patents in his name for such inventions.

Alan is a member of a number of professional associations in the engineering field including Professional Engineers Ontario, The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, The Arizona Board of Technical Registration and The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers.

Most of Alan’s engineering work has been in project management as well as the engineering, design, modeling, and drafting of feed systems and mechanical components for flash furnaces, converters and electric arc with emphasis on solving complex mechanical problems by developing unique solutions. Alan is an expert in using the specialized software Solid Edge and can efficiently execute custom machine design projects from the conceptual stages through to installation and commissioning.

Alan also has experience working as a field engineer where he offered construction and demolition support, developed work plans for the constructors and solved constructability issues encountered in the field. Early in his career he had many years experience in residential construction where he worked as a heavy equipment operator implementing grading plans in newly erected subdivisions.

After being involved in the final stages of the SNNC Ferronickel Smelter, Alan worked on the Koniambo DC Furnace project. He was heavily involved in the engineering, design, and modeling of the feed pipes, fluidized bins, and other components of the furnace feed system. Alan was also engaged in performing Caesar II aided stress analysis calculations and completing stress analysis reports on piping systems for the Bruce Power A restart project. He then worked for a year on-site at Bruce Power as a field engineer, interfacing between the design office and the construction contractors and resolving constructability and design issues.

While living in Santiago, Chile, Alan worked on a number of projects related to the maintenance and upgrading of mechanical equipment for the Andina and Teniente mines, smelters and refineries. He was also been involved in the development, engineering and design of concentrate burners for flash copper furnaces and in the optimization of various processes and equipment related to copper smelting and converting.

After Chile, Alan lived and worked in Arizona for two years. One of his latest projects that is currently operating in Arizona was a custom industrial mouth cover for copper converting. It is a huge automated assembly designed to cover and reduce emissions on large hoboken copper converters. After generating and completing the design and fabrication drawings as the package lead, Alan became the project manager for the construction and prototype testing. The project was a great success and has led to the fabrication of numerous other automated covers.

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