“We were graced with perfect weather. The mountain blessed me and granted access to the summit, 14,411 feet elevation. The Children’s Hunger Fund Mt. Rainier ‘Climb For Hope 2011’ was a success.” — Mark Rickert, August 2011
As regular readers of What’s Up, USANA? know, we followed USANA Associate Mark Rickert leading up to and during his trek to the top of Mt. Rainier.
Earlier this week we received some outstanding news. Mark, who embarked on the “Climb for Hope 2011” to raise funds for Children’s Hunger Fund, stood atop the mountain — 14,411 feet — on August 11!
Mt. Rainier, a national park for more than 100 years, holds the title of the highest volcano in the contiguous United States. It is known for its steep glacial ice and daunting elevation gains that have challenged even the most experienced climbers over the years.
Mark has provided us with some truly outstanding photos and is today sharing his thoughts with many in the USANA family who helped support him on this incredibly challenging and equally rewarding mission. He also mentioned he couldn’t have done it without the support of his coach and No. 1 supporter, his wife Karla.
Here’s Mark, in his own words, describing the experience:
“The terrain was difficult, but with each step climbed, I managed to climb over 9,000 vertical feet over a distance of 8 miles or so with an overnight stop at Camp 1 (10,000 feet) on August 10. Then, Camp 2 (11,000 feet) on the morning of August. 11. We did our ‘Sunset’ summit push on August 11 and back down to high camp the same day. I summited around 7 p.m. or so and proudly carried a CHF flag, as well as my USANA flag.
“This was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Every one of my toes is blistered, top and bottom, and are all bandaged up now even though I broke in my boots properly. As I stepped and breathed I heard my friends’ words echo in my step pattern. As Werner Berger says, ‘All I have to do is take one step at a time,’ and as the Swahili say, ‘Poele, Poele!’ — ‘Slowly, slowly’ (there is no rush).”
Friend at the Top
As Facebook friends of Mark know, he’s rarely without his “Sir Rev3.” The “Climb for Hope 2011” was no exception.
“I brought a can of Rev3 to the summit of Mt Rainier (maybe a first?) and even enjoyed it as my reward….nice and cold! :)”
Yet through it all, Mark never forgot the reason he trekked to the top of Mt. Rainier, and he kept in his thoughts the many children who would benefit from his climb.
“I believed that the pain I was going through, mental and physical, was nothing compared with the kids that would not have a meal today, and for many days to come,” he says. “Monday was my first full day off the mountain and I am haggard, but I look for my next challenge — to gain more insight to what I can offer the world in my microscopic way. I have been given many gifts by Creator and I cherish every moment and love to give.”
Congratulations on an incredible accomplishment, Mark!