20 February 2014
I was recently asked at work to explain my philosophy of education in a short paragraph. I'm a special education teacher. I don't do anything normally. The following is my response. Credit goes to Joseph Campbell and his teachings about the monomyth and the "Hero's Journey" and to Big City Mountaineers for using this as their wilderness mentoring curriculum.
13 February 2014
I always come away from conference calls with Darin Fearday, director of the Summit for Someone program at Big City Mountaineers, with way more excitement about my next fund raising mountaineering trip, and this call wasn't any different. After a quick introduction to everyone in our newly formed climbing team, Darin started discussing some of the details about our upcoming climb of Mount Shasta. We are going to be one of at least eight teams that will be scaling the mountain as part of a nation-wide fundraiser being put on by Backpacker Magazine in June to raise money for Big City Mountaineers, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that runs wilderness mentoring expeditions for at-risk youth. Each member in our group has pledged to raise $4,000 to help support BCM's programs. This money will be enough to cover the cost for two groups of five teens to participate in a week-long backpacking mentoring trip this summer without a single cent coming from their own pockets. We have seven guys on our team, so we will end up raising $28,000, enough to pay for 70 teens to experience the healing power of the mountains! Talk about awesome.
The conversation then turned to all the great sponsors who will be kicking in free gear and support for the climbers to help them with their trips. Brands like The North Face, SOLE, Eddie Bauer/First Ascent, Lowa, Black Diamond, and others are all big supporters of BCM and are collaborating to make this a truly amazing, fund raising event. I mean seriously, there are two things that just never ever seem to get old: Christie Brinkley and free gear packages.
Finally, Darin got to the part I was really waiting for. This is my fourth time climbing for Summit for Someone, and on the last two, I've gotten to climb with some of the biggest names in the climbing world. In 2012 I was led to the summit of Mount Rainier by none other than Dave Hahn (15 summits of Everest, kinda a big deal). In 2013 on Mount Whitney, I was on a rope team with "Mr. Everest" himself, Pete Athans. It was therefore of no surprise, but plenty of excitement, when I heard Darin state that this time, our "guest climber" would be The North Face's very own Cedar Wright. If you aren't familiar with his work, Cedar is a highly accomplished rock climber who is quite skilled in free-solo, aid, and free climbing. He's also a pretty damn good filmmaker, often writing his own music to accompany the footage. It's going to be simply incredible sharing time on the mountain with him and the rest of our crew (including Darin himself!).
For more information on my climb, including how to make a donation, check out some of the other posts here on my blog, or visit my climber page. From first-hand experience as a mentor on BCM's trips, I can personally attest to how effective these programs are in the lives of teens across the country. Help BCM and their volunteer mentors touch the lives of thousands more this summer. Watch the video below to get the idea.