If you are a regular reader of this blog then you are already familiar with my fitness journey. Two years ago I reached my bottom both physically and mentally. I was nearly 260 pounds (I’m 5′-11”) and was totally and completely out of shape. I won the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation World Championship in Brazil in 2006 and by 2011 because I let myself go I became an out of shape physical wreck. Since reaching my “bottom” in 2011 I’ve lost nearly 70 pounds and am in the best shape of my life. I have been able to achieve this through hard work, dedication, proper exercise and nutrition. The journey has not been easy. I’ve had some setbacks along the way but I continue to make forward progress.
Since becoming fit I’ve been able to do things that I never thought possible such as mountain climbing. I wish I could describe to you the sheer visceral feeling you get when you stand atop a mountain summit and look out at the world below. On a mountain when the wind is above 80 mph it is as loud as a freight train and you have to scream to be heard even if the person is standing inches away from you. It is so cold that if you spit, your spit will freeze solid before it hits the ground. At times the wind blows so hard the snow hitting your face feels like bits of small glass or sand. The most alluring thing about mountain climbing (at least to me) is the sheer challenge of making it to the summit and back. One simply can not imagine the sheer size of a mountain unless you are climbing one! They are called mountains for a reason… As you climb higher the earth below shrinks in the distance and your realize that you are doing something that few people will ever do. When I solo climbed Mt. Washington (the tallest mountain in the North East) two winters ago it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I remember when I broke treeline (around 4,500′) the wind was gusting at around 90 mph and the air temperature was -50. I looked off into the distance as I stood in that raw primal environment and thought to myself “my God few people ever get to see what I am seeing now.” It was an incredible experience that changed me as a person forever.
The problem with mountain climbing is it’s expensive because you have to go to where the mountains are…they don’t come to you! The farther away the mountain the greater the logistical expenses. For instance to climb Mt. Everest which is in the Himalayas can cost more than $50,000 dollars. Yes you read that correctly 50k! Since mountains tend to be very cold and windy you need to wear specialized gear. There are many things that you can “cheap out” on but mountain climbing is not one of them. I found this out the hard way when I climbed Mt. Washington wearing a snowmobile suit that I bought on the cheap online. Snowmobile suits are designed to keep you warm while you are sitting on a snowmobile not while mountain climbing. They do not wick your perspiration away from your body and you become drenched with sweat which is not a good thing when the air temperature is -50 degrees. The point is if you want to climb a mountain there are significant expenses involved.
I’m planning to climb Mt. Rainier in Washington State. Mt. Rainier is the 5’th tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. I’ve set up a climbing fund raising campaign to raise money to help offset the expenses of this climb. Please click here to go to my donation page. If you know me then you know how important this is to me and perhaps you can help me realize this dream. After all how many men of my age (52) do stuff like this? I’m not asking you to help me book a vacation to the Caribbean so I can lay on a beach drink Pina Coladas and soak in some rays. I’m asking you to help me fund this climb so that through my endeavours it may inspire other people to become healthy and fit. If you are reading this now and are overweight, frustrated and maybe even depressed because of your weight…do not despair! If I can turn my life around so can you. We all have our own dreams and mine is at the summit of a mountain. Do what I’m doing…go out and live your dream!
Thanks very much for your support. I’ll see you at the summit!
Everyone that donates to the climb will have their name printed on a banner similar to this one. I’ll take the banner with me to the summit and be photographed with it. Please go to the fundraising campaign site for more info!