Learn, Follow, and Get Involved.
So how do you train for a climb like Denali? Well, you don’t do it like me! You should spend a good 6 months to a year steadily increasing your training to avoid injury and prepare for the strains and pains for this type of climb. Steep inclines, long days, all while carrying everything you need (up to 60-80 lbs of gear and pulling another heavy load in a sled behind you) 14,000 feet up the mountain.
Here is my dilemma; I have less than 2 months to train, I have a chronic back injury and I’m soon to be 50. Ouch, ouch, and bigger ouch! The good side is that the one thing that has always got me through any climb has been my ability to accept (and sometimes turn off) the pain and how to be efficient. This last part, efficiency, is absolutely key. Done right it will take what energy you have and almost double your ability with half the effort.
I will train, but I will train cautiously. I don’t want to injure myself before I arrive. Fortunately I still have some reserve strength left over from last years climbs, and I know my limit when it comes to training with a heavy pack, but I still need to be very careful and listen to my body. With my back injuries, the way I adjust my pack can mean the difference between a well-conformed “Back Brace” or a torture device! Sometimes when you throw you pack on it feels just right, other times your fighting with every strap to get it right. This is just the nature of the beast. I’m currently training with about 80 lbs in the same pack I will carry on the climb. Ohio is flat, so I am just focused on spreading out a 4-mile hike over about 1 and half hours. My focus is more on my back than for climbing. I know my ability for moving up the hill, but what kills my energy is if I am constantly fighting and fidgeting with my pack, which keeps me from getting into an energy conserving rhythm.
There is a lot to think about and pay attention to during your climb, steady efficient steps, managing the rope you are tied into, rhythmic breathing, watching for crevasses and other hazards, but every now and then when you look up at the beauty surrounding you, for that brief moment all the pain goes away and you realize why you are there.
I am a mountaineer, I love climbing, I love the challenge, I love the camaraderie, I love the humbling I receive from being such a small speck in such a vast environment. Last year when I launched on these major climbs it had been almost 10 years since I had last climbed, but I found renewed purpose and meaning behind why I do it now. The honor I have been given to carry the “Silently Fallen” flag is deeper than you can imagine. Don’t get me wrong, I said I love climbing, but now there is a much more important reason to do it beyond my own selfish desire. To honor these lost brothers and sisters and to give them a voice to help save some of the over 8000 veterans we lose each year to suicide.
Learn and Get involved with Summit for Soldiers at www.summitforsoldiers.org
Follow the Effort at www.sfs.everest.weebly.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/summitforsoldiers
Stepping off for the climb! The team is strong and ready, however, the weather is up in the air! A cold front is moving in so we could get some weather (on a mountain a rain shower = blizzard) and the most of the snow has melted of the upper mountain which means it is nothing but hard glacier ice! It's going to be challenging, but we will be smart and safe. Comm is sparse so we will update as we can! Mike
The team is gearing up, everybody has been training and now its time to sort and pack the gear and prepare for our Adventure in a few days. We will be giving regular updates about our progress. - mike
Hey, Washington State Area hikers, climbers and adventurers. Help us spread the word on the weekend of 23-25 August. We will be climbing and hiking on Mount Rainier as part of our next stop in spreading the word about PTSD/Suicide Awareness. Please join us in support by downloading and printing our Flag (pdf below) and take it along on your adventures that weekend. Snap a picture and send it to us and we will get it posted on facebook and our webpage!
Lets talk about what works and what does not, Tell us your story. An experience or struggle during your military service or civilian life after returning home? Your struggles or victory with PTSD, VA or other outlet experience? Family members, tell us your experience as well, we need to understand better from all aspects. Good or bad, we'd like to hear about it.
The Mountain Goats has several events coming up over the next few months!
JUNE is PTSD Awareness Month, and the 27th of June is the National PTSD Awareness Day. Help us spread the word and generate support! It's easy, just "LIKE" us on FACEBOOK or "Follow" us on Twitter. We will be sending out some interesting info each day during this month!
July 6th the VA OIF/OEF/OND Outreach Clinic is sponsoring a Free Welcome Home event at the Columbus ZOO for Veterans/Military and their families! Come visit check out the booths, and visit us there as well.
August - We are heading to our next big Summit Attempt on Mount Rainier Washington
Got any plans that day? Lets all use the oppurtunity to do something that spreads the word. Maybe if you live near a highpoint and you have nothing going on that day??? Or maybe just taking the time to share some info. Get creative, keep it simple, don't really matter as long as we can get the word out. Click on over to the "Media" tab and download the Summit for Soldiers flag PDF, print it out, and send us a picture and description of what you did and we will post!
The OIF/OEF/OND Outreach Clinic at the VA in Columbus Ohio sponsors an annual "Welcome Home" for the troops and veterans at the Columbus Zoo. This year it will be on Saturday 06July. And the wonderful folks at the Clinic have offered us a table/booth at this event! (Thank you Lois!) So, if you live in the Columbus Area, come on out to the zoo for some fun, and check out all the stuff that the VA and others will have available. We will be back at the pavilion. Oh, forgot to mention, its FREE for vet's and their families!
Barbara - Is this a free event for all veterans and their spouses? My husband was in the U.S.Army in early 60's. Thank you!
SfS - Barbara, yes it is free to all veterans, active, reserve, past and present, and their immediate family. I believe the Zoo requests that the member bring either a Military ID, a VA ID Card, or a copy of a DD214 (discharge papers) I imagine any sort of proof of service might work. FYI, There may be a parking fee around $8.00.
Looks like we may have our next big event. The team has wrapped up it's last round of deployments, and time to take back this hill. Been up this beast several times, but not for the cause yet... so, lets go do it. Big plans and hopefully a big turn out of support.
So many folks don't realize just how difficult it is for our troops to return home and begin to reintegrate with their civilian lives, jobs, families... Throw in the trauma of war and that process escalates immensely. Brothers and Sisters, you are not alone! We take care of each other on the battle field, and we will take care of each other here. There are tons of resources, programs, organizations that can help with just about every issue and need
Summit for Soldiers: PTSD Awareness Campaign
US Army, Navy Corpsman, OIF Vet. Co-founder of The Mountain Goats and Summit for Soldiers.
Navy Corpsman, OEF Vet. Co-founder of The Mountain Goats and Summit for Soldiers.