Now Reading
Shedding Fears With Marshall’s Sean Burch

Shedding Fears With Marshall’s Sean Burch

by Trevor Baratko

Sean Burch believes fear plays too great a role in our lives. If you let it creep into your psyche, you’ll never be the best version of yourself, he says.

Burch is afraid of heights. Or, I suppose, Burch was afraid of heights. He says he’s still afraid, but I refuse to accept that someone who holds seven world records for climbing mountains across six countries is fearful of heights.

“You have to face these fears and you’ll find out what you’re capable of,” Burch, a Marshall resident, told Middleburg Life. “With these expeditions, I try to learn more about myself and what I’m capable of doing. Then I bring that back and spread the word. How far can I safely push myself? If you stay complacent and stay average, you’ll always be sub-par. You’ll never reach your potential.”

Tagged “one of the world’s top extreme adventurers” by the National Geographic Society — he also won Nat Geo’s “Ultimate Survival Alaska” — Burch is training for his eighth climbing world record, this one in the Himalayas, where he has summited before. He’s busy courting sponsors for the expedition.

The Northern Virginia native said he always wanted to locate to the calm serenity of Virginia’s Piedmont, which he finally did several months ago.

“I love this area. My big first date was at the Red Fox Inn in Middleburg when I was about 16 years old. It’s always been dear to me.”

A history nut, Burch says Old Dominion is the perfect fit. Yet, as one might suspect, he’s not always around — he’s off climbing mountains on one of the five continents where he holds world records. 

Or he’s running marathons in Russia, the scene of one of his best stories.

“There were these Russians there with guns, and they’re supposed to be protecting you,” he recalls. “But they’re all so drunk off these five-gallon jugs of cognac. One of them wanted to arm-wrestle everyone who came in after the race.”

Burch went on to note that intoxicated Russian ended up bloodying the nose of a photographer.

In addition to extreme adventuring, Burch works as a personal development and leadership expert, a documentarian and photojournalist. He was awarded U.S. Goodwill Ambassador to Nepal for his exposure and promotion of the country’s tourism efforts and living conditions.

So, what is it that drives Burch to these foreign lands, to take routes that have never before been trotted on?

“You don’t know what to expect when you get to these regions. That’s the beautiful thing.”

Courtesy photos:  Sean Burch

Scroll To Top