On June 23rd, the Simple Booth team set out with an ambitious plan to summit Mt. Bierstadt, one of the fifty-three 14,000+ foot mountains in Colorado. We added a twist to this challenge by taking a HALO digital photo booth, attempting to set a record for the “highest altitude photo booth.”

Startup culture is one of those intangible things that is difficult to get right, but painfully obvious when it’s not. How do we build and foster a culture of aspiration, energy, fun and respect not only in our companies, but also our personal lives?

We believe it’s as simple as taking action to stimulate the culture you aspire to achieve. So what better way to kick start this than to get out of the office for a few hours or even a day long team hike? Spending time outside with your team strengthens the bond of colleagues. As a bonus, studies show hiking can boost creativity and even improve cognitive function. Sign us up!

Here are the 6 things the Simple Booth team learned hiking a Colorado 14’er.

1. Slow Down to Go Fast

Mount Bierstadt

Need speed? Slow down. There’s no hack to get to the top of the mountain quicker. We added two dogs and a HALO photo booth to our ascent, so a super fast summit wasn’t in the cards. Hiking teaches you to slow down, observe the world around you and to listen to your body. Being nimble is about focus and intention, not just pushing to go faster.

And you can use the “go slow” principle off the trail too. A Harvard Business Review study showed that firms that “slowed down to speed up” improved both top and bottom lines, averaging 40% higher sales and 52% higher operating profits over a three-year period.

2. step Away From The screen

Dogs and people hiking

Stepping away from the computer screen is one of the most simple fixes to reduce workplace stress, which according to the American Psychological Association, is the second most common source of stress. Movement and exercise gets endorphins flowing, making us feel good and, in turn, stimulating the brain to be creative. At fast-paced startups like Simple Booth, we want employees to collaborate and enjoy the time they spend working together. So whether it’s a short walk, quick game of Foosball or an an all day 14’er summit, time away from the desk helps us to be more productive when it’s time to get things done.

3. How To Be a creative problem solver

People on mountain around HALO

Hail. Storms. Snakes. Poorly marked trails. Even the most prepared hikers can get lost or run into problems along the way. The key to making it? Adaptability. If you’re adaptable you’ll be a creative problem solver, both on and off the trail. So whether you need to duct tape a busted seam in your jacket to keep out the rain or setup a photo booth in 50 mph winds at the top of a mountain, you need to be able to think differently with the knowledge and tools you’ve got.

4. Stop Over Thinking Everything

Man jumping on mountain next to HALO

Stop thinking. Get out of your mind. Click your feet together and pose like no one’s watching. Without getting too New Age, living in the moment, or mindfulness, is an active, present state of being that brings a sense of clarity and focus. Hiking the beautiful terrain of Mount Bierstadt gave our team clarity, focus and a sense of urgency that taught us to focus on what matters most: now.

5. The Best Things In Life Are Shared

Group photo at Mount Bierstadt summit

Over the course of our hike, we were fortunate to summit with the U.S. Army’s B Company, 743rd Military Intelligence Battalion, led by Captain Jeromy Turner. Hanging with B Company at the top of Mount Bierstadt, we experienced the power of a dynamic culture that drives pride, performance and fosters leadership. This culture is what every single member of the Army relies on in training, preparation and battle. Not only did the entire B Company summit together, but a team member re-enlisted and was sworn in at 14,062 feet in the Colorado Rockies.

It was an honor for Simple Booth to be able to share this magical moment.

6. Put In The Work To Get the Payoff

HALO at Mount BierstadtYou’ll never break world records or get the epic view at the top if you don’t put in the hours of hard work to get there. Push past fear, pain and doubt. Be open to taking risk and exploring. Things didn’t always go the way we planned along the miles and miles of our hike (we’re looking at you, marmots), but in the end, it was worth every step.

And who knows? You just might break a world record while you’re at it…

Check out everyone’s photos from the top of Mount Bierstadt here!

Learn More About HALO!