Someone said recently that our generation has diluted the term “impossible”; it has become a trite expression of what is merely challenging. “Achieving the impossible” does not possess the awe it once did. For instance, before the 1960’s was a trip to the moon truly impossible? One would have certainly deemed it impossible; however, time, effort and technological advancements made the impossible…possible.
What of those daring explorers who pioneered new horizons and scaled treacherous peaks to disprove the notion of impossible? I am not a mountaineer of any sorts, only an armchair admirer of those who do climb. However, it doesn’t take a mountaineer to get a sense of what mountain climbs historically have presented the greatest challenge, those seemingly impossible journeys to reach formidable summits. For purposes of this blog, this armchair climber has coined those top climbs “the deadly 4”.
Take for instance those individuals that once saw the Eiger as an impossible climb. Situated in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland, the Eiger is still named Mordwand, “the murderous wall”. At least 65 climbers have died attempting the North face. At one point the Bernese Authorities even banned climbing on account of the deaths. Impossible you say? Ask Anderl Heckmair, the German who led a team in 1938 to successfully climb the North face.
What about those who once looked upon Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world (located in the Himalayas between China and Nepal)? Did it seem possible that one day someone could actually scale this mammoth of a mountain? Over 220 climbers have died attempting to climb Mt. Everest. The popular book Into Thin Air chronicles one of the many disastrous climbs. On this controversial and fatal expedition a team attempted the climb in 1996 with eight ultimately dying in the attempt and a handful left stranded in a rogue storm. Impossible you think? A New Zealander and Nepali first made the impossible journey on May 29th, 1953.
Another seemingly impossible climb that was popularized by the 2003 documentary, Touching the Void, where a climbing duo was scaling the West Face of Siula Grandein the Peruvian Andes. The feat of this difficult climb in 1985 was heightened by the heroic effort on the part of the two English climbers to stay alive on the descent. To this day, the south face has not been climbed. Simpson, one of the climbers that survived, and his awe-inspiring journey is widely regarded by mountaineers as amongst the most amazing pieces of mountaineering lore to this day. Impossible? Ask Joe Simpson or Simon Yates, the first climbers to scale the West Face.
Any list of impossible and deadly climbs would be incomplete without the mention of K2. Known as the Savage Mountain, it is located between Pakistan and China. The world’s second highest mountain is known among climbers as one of the most technically difficult in the world. Ascents of even the easiest route require crossing a complicated glacier, ascending steep sections of rock, and negotiating a path around a series of ice pillars, called seracs, which are prone to collapse without warning. The technical difficulty of this mountain makes it one of the most dangerous in the world. K2 has the second highest fatality rate. Every four people who have reached the summit, one has died trying. K2 has still never been climbed in the winter. An Italian expedition finally succeeded in ascending to the summit in 1954! Two popular movies and a multitude of books have been written about K2. Impossible you think? While at first it seemed so, time and effort have proven otherwise.
The last 100 years has seen so many seemingly impossible things come to pass. Recent developments in technology and software development alone are staggering. Though, to some, overcoming these types of challenges would pale in comparison to scaling the Eiger, they do represent advancements that at one time would have been coined “impossible.”
One such advancement is the ability of a software company to provide complex, feature-rich, customizable line-of-business software to niche organizations, both small and large. Not too long ago, it would have been impressive enough to experience the broadest of enterprise applications. Such applications did not have either the complexity or the specific business application that more current applications do, making them much easier to support. What at one time might have seemed impossible is now possible.
More current line-of-business applications, like the Visual RAMS-Pro solution, a waste management software application, from Alpine Technology Corporation, can reach a segment that at one time was impossible. Alpine can service a niche industry like the waste industry, provide features that are specific to their business practices, and allow the software to be truly customizable and scalable. This was only one leg of the journey. The next challenge that faced Alpine was how to support such a complex application. Support team members at Alpine are more than just your run-of-the-mill technicians, they are more like consultants. They deeply understand the industry, your business and the software. Over 38 years in the waste industry coupled with a village of competent, dedicated team members and partners has allowed them to scale this once deemed “impossible” mountain.
Being an armchair mountaineer and studying the famous ascents allows me to experience, albeit vicariously, some of the impossible challenges these daring men and women faced. However, I must admit it is equally fulfilling to be a part of a once-thought-impossible effort to better the lives of businesses across the world. People’s lives may not be at stake, but their livelihoods are. If you are part of a business in the waste industry, don’t skimp on your software. There are solutions, like Visual RAMS-Pro, that are specific to the waste industry and leverage decades of experience.