Double Life: Climbing Skies and Mountains

In our “Double Life” series, we meet with Envoy employees who love their role with the Company and also have passions that extend beyond the airport and aircraft. We recently met with 35-year-old Envoy Captain Pete LaVay, who is an avid mountain climber, to learn more about his life at Envoy and on the peaks of the Himalayas.

Flying is a “lifelong passion”

Envoy Captain Pete LaVay climbing Ama Dablam.
Envoy Captain Pete LaVay climbing Ama Dablam.

What’s your Envoy story?

I’ve been with Envoy for four and half years, currently serving as a Captain based in Phoenix.

How did you become interested in aviation?

Aviation has been my lifelong passion. Previously, I was a U.S. Army aviator flying UH-60 Blackhawks for 11 years. Transitioning to Envoy, I utilized the Envoy Rotary Transition Program to acquire my fixed-wing ratings.

How did you become interested in mountain climbing? Any other outdoor activities?

I’ve immersed myself in extreme sports, accumulating 4,000 skydives and participating in two world records. Additionally, I pursued ski racing in college and now enjoy surfing on my off days, alongside my recent interest in mountaineering after a transformative trip to Everest Base Camp (EBC).

What does it feel like to reach a literal mountain top? How much training goes into it?

Following my EBC trek, I was invited to climb Lobuche (20,500ft) with experienced mountaineers, a pivotal experience that ignited my pursuit of summiting 8,000-meter peaks, including Mount Everest.

However, the financial and logistical challenges associated with this endeavor are significant. To mitigate costs and prove my capabilities, I opted to undertake the challenging Ama Dablam climb, which is a demanding month and a half journey.

Envoy Captain LaVay camping along his ascent of Ama Dablam.
Envoy Captain LaVay camping along his ascent of Ama Dablam.

After climbing several practice-training peaks and spending about a month in the area, we were prepared for the ascent. This endeavor proved to be the most mentally and physically demanding experience of my life.

Frequently, I’m asked why I pursue climbing these perilous peaks, where a single misstep can prove fatal. In response, George Mallory’s words, “if you have to ask, you’ll never know,” resonate deeply. The endeavor isn’t about enjoyment, but rather the profound personal growth and triumph over challenges experienced upon reaching the summit. The breathtaking vistas make the risks worthwhile.

How can you apply any life lessons from climbing to flying jets?

The lessons learned from these experiences parallel those crucial to flying, like emphasizing the importance of perseverance and maintaining composure, especially in the most demanding circumstances.

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