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Here’s the Wild Idea

Tate’s Wild Idea: To climb over 13,000 feet up Grand Teton in Wyoming after seeing an image of the mountain in the hallway where he received cancer treatments. To not let his diagnosis affect his sense of humor and positive attitude.

Today’s guest is a skier, filmmaker, and all around awesome guy who I’ve known for a few years. Tate MacDowell got his start as a filmmaker making ski movies for companies like Teton Gravity Research and Brain Farm. His current company, Death Cookie Entertainment, specializes in editorial action sports films. He’s very present in the outdoor and action sports industry, and I have loved watching his movies. I started following his story more closely the last few years after he shared some vulnerable posts.

In 2008, Tate and his wife moved from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Cardiff, California and a few years later had a son, Wilson. Just two years ago, Tate was diagnosed with cancer, which has now advanced as he is going through stage IV metastatic rectal cancer. While undergoing treatments, he got the wild idea to climb Grand Teton after seeing a picture of the mountain in the hallway where he was getting cancer treatments. His journey to the top has been an emotional ride, and one that he shares in detail in our conversation.

We talk openly about his journey with cancer, being a dad and husband, his new hobby painting with watercolors, and why we shouldn’t waste any time in going after our dreams. His honesty in this challenging time is astounding, and I love his message and his story.

Presented by REI

Listen to this Episode if

  • You or someone you know has had cancer.

  • You’ve ever dreamed of going to the Grand Tetons.

  • You aren’t one to let some obstacles stop you from achieving your goals.

  • You are in need of some inspiration to go out and make your dreams reality.

Key Takeaways

  • 2:25 – What was Tate’s wild idea and how he got it.

  • 3:55 – Learn about Tate’s cancer diagnosis.

  • 5:50 – He met a friend who was going through similar treatments.

  • 7:00 – What happened on his first attempt up Grand Teton.

  • 13:30 – Why Tate started painting with watercolors.

  • 14:50 – Why he compares cancer to a climb instead of a battle.

  • 16:35 – What Tate has learned from his cancer as well as his attempt at climbing the Tetons.

  • 19:25 – Where Tate is in terms of reaching his goal one year later (and why he’s sporting an eye patch).

  • 23:30 – What happened on his climb.

  • 27:05 – What it felt like to be at the top.

  • 28:30 – Tate spread the ashes of a friend when he was at the top.

  • 33:10 – The mentors Tate has met along the way.

  • 35:20 – Tate’s advice for anyone dealing with cancer now.

  • 37:00 – What he loves doing with his son.

  • 38:20 – The films he’s excited about working on now.

  • 40:00 – What Tate’s next adventure is.

  • 42:45 – How you can help a loved one dealing with cancer or illness.

  • 44:00 – The food and training that have helped Tate during his treatment.

  • 45:50 – You can get through anything if you just remember: You’re still alive.

Awesome book Tate recommends gifting

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday


Mountain in the Hallway
Tate’s recap of the climb

Ben Moon

Death Cookie Entertainment

Those Darn Squirrels children’s book

Dragons Love Tacos children’s book

Mike Nosco Foundation

Black Diamond gear

Connect with Tate




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