Tim Krauss is not your average man. Nor is he your average mountaineer. As a type 1 diabetic, Tim conquered Mt. Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Andes mountain range, standing at a towering 22,841 feet. Tim is a testament to the fact that anything can be achieved with the right mindset and determination.
Tim, a local Austinite and legit mountain man, has always had a love for the mountains. But it wasn’t until last spring that he was able to embark on this adventure. Tim trained hard, rain or shine, for six months. His training regimen included six-day weeks of heavy weights and extreme high incline hiking. Tim was so dialed in to his goal that he only missed one training session. Tim’s training became his life, and in turn it became a large part of his family’s life, too. The Krauss family supported Tim in his training, always accommodating to his intense training schedule, and encouraging him every step of the way.
When Tim decided to embark on this journey, he knew he would have to inform his team members about his diabetes. However, he was hesitant to tell them for fear of burdening them with his condition. To Tim’s surprise, his expedition group was very accepting and took the time to learn about diabetes. His guides spent hours learning how to operate his insulin pump and give injections. Tim was shocked by how committed the team was to his safety and how dedicated they were in learning how to care for him. During our interview, Tim chuckled and commented, “I thought, ‘Damn, these guys are really invested in me not to die on the mountain, at least not from diabetes. Something else maybe, but I’m not dying of diabetes, that’s for sure’.” The guides were invested in his safety, and the rest of the team was trained to look out for signs of trouble.
Tim’s climb to the summit of Mt. Aconcagua was not without its challenges. On the way to the summit, Tim’s insulin pump broke, and he needed to give himself an injection. In temperatures well below freezing, all three of his team members knelt down and opened their jackets to create a shield, making a tent-like structure for Tim to inject his insulin. However, the rubber stopper on top of the insulin vial had frozen, so Tim was unable to punch the needle through the vial. One of Tim’s team members took the vial and popped it into his mouth in an attempt to defrost the top. As bizarre as it was, it worked, and this became the procedure for the rest of the journey.
Tim’s favorite story to tell is about the day they summited Mt. Aconcagua. After a 13-hour push to the summit, Tim was completely smoked. But despite the incredible feat of reaching the top, Tim felt no sense of accomplishment or excitement. This feeling troubled him, as he had come to the mountain searching for something, hoping to find it at the summit. Tim realized that the summit doesn’t matter as much as the journey itself. The six months of training and pushing himself to the limit were what truly mattered. Tim thrives in what he calls the “hurt box” – the space where he is struggling, miserable, and in pain. It is in this challenging space where he craves to live. He believes that when he finally reaches the top, it hits him that the time in that intense and challenging space is over. Tim’s realization about the true meaning of his journey is a powerful message about the importance of perseverance, endurance, and determination.
After spending a mere eight minutes at the summit, they headed back down the mountain. Every step was pins and needles and came with a groan, as Tim’s body was more tired than it has ever been before. When they finally arrived back at Camp 3, Tim was convinced he was going to die. He fell to the floor and told his team to go on, but was soon reminded by his guide that he wasn’t dying, he had just climbed the summit in record time.
The climb was not just a physical challenge, but a mental one. Tim learned that being a mountaineer is more than just strength and endurance. It’s about selflessness and being there for the people you love and care about. “The mountain teaches you what is truly important. It’s about being with those you love and care about, without ever questioning why they need you.”
In addition to being a mountaineer, Tim Krauss is also a co-founder of Mammoth Creameries, a sugar-free ice cream brand. The idea for the company was born when Tim’s wife Susan started making keto frozen custard in their kitchen after Tim was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. They quickly realized that their ice cream was too good not to share with the world, and thus Mammoth Creameries was born. Today, Tim and Susan run the company together, offering a tasty treat to those with diabetes or customers just looking for a sugar-free option.
Although busy with work and family, Tim is craving to be back in the “hurt box.” He has already begun training for his next adventure: climbing Mount Everest.
Cover photo courtesy Tim Krauss.
Kathryn Callahan is studying Corporate Communications at the University of Texas and is an advertising and sales intern at Texas Lifestyle Magazine. In between her internship and school, Kathryn works part time at Tiny’s Milk and Cookies, serves as student mentor on campus, and leads YoungLife at Travis High School.