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Posts Tagged ‘USAF 7 Summits Challenge’

Rainier Success! What’s Next: “50 Summits Challenge”

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

With the Mt. Rainier climb a big success (see article link below), what’s next for the USAF 7 Summits Challenge? ¬†Well, we have some pretty exciting stuff in the works. ¬†Most notably, we are formulating a new project we will likely call the “USAF 50 Summits Challenge”.

The project’s goal would be similar to the 7 Summits Challenge in that we want Airmen to get outside and reach the summit of peaks! ¬†However, this project won’t involve expeditions to far flung corners of the Earth. ¬†Rather, our goal will be to get the Air Force flag to the summit of the highest point in each of the 50 states. ¬†In doing so, we will work to promote resiliency, camaraderie, and esprit d’ corps among Airmen.

Organizing 50 climbs would be overwhelming, so we will be looking for help from Airmen all over America.  Once the Challenge begins, we will be looking for motivated climbers and outdoorsy Airmen to head up a trip to the highest peak in their state.  So stay tuned and be a part of history!

Climb High, Fly Low,

Maj Rob Marshall

http://www.woundedwarrior.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123357511

Wounded Airmen Aiming to Reach Everest Base Camp!

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Send these American Airmen on an epic journey sure to help them heal from their ordeals mentally, physically, and spiritually. ¬†We need to raise $20,000 before Feb 25th to ensure these wounded warriors have plane tickets, permits, guides, and lodging as they accompany the USAF 7 Summits Challenge on our trek to Everest Base Camp. ¬†Using the link below, your donations to the AF Rescue community’s charity, “That Others May Live Foundation” are tax deductible and will go directly to the mission to send these Airmen on this important and powerful trip deep into the Himalayan mountains.

http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/laura-lerdall/woundedrescueangelmteveresttrektobasecamp

 

Disney

Senior Master Sgt. Robert Disney, 35, USAF Pararescueman, survived a gunshot wound to the head on April 18, 2003, when enemy forces ambushed his special operations team as they inserted to a remote location in Central Pakistan.¬† A shining example of resilience and the warrior spirit, Disney has also endured a helicopter crash (Aug ‚Äė02), witnessed the death of six close friends in another helicopter crash (Mar ‚Äė03), and suffered a traumatic brain injury from a 15-foot fall onto his back during helicopter operations.¬† He was stationed at Moody Air Force Base, GA (‚Äė98-‚Äô04, ‚Äė07-‚Äô11) and RAF Mildenhall, UK before joining the Standards and Evaluations division at Air Combat Command Headquarters, Langley AFB, VA.¬† Disney is a devoted advocate for Wounded Warrior issues and has become a highly successful public speaker.¬† Robert is from Central Illinois and is married to Tess Disney from Nashville, GA.

Houghton

Tech. Sgt. Daniel Houghton, 28, USAF Pararescueman, was wounded Feb. 17, 2007, in a devastating MH-47 helicopter crash in Zabul Province, Afghanistan.  Despite near fatal injuries and a snow storm, Houghton maintained a security position in the fractured wreckage until he was rescued four hours later. While recovering from a follow-on surgery in June 2009, he learned that his brother, George Bryan Houghton, an F-16 pilot, had died in a training accident at Hill AFB, Utah.  Undeterred, Houghton fought his way back to a full recovery as an operational Pararescueman through the aid of the Athlete’s Performance Institute in Gulf Breeze, FL.   After four years as a Pararescue School Instructor at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM, he was recently selected as a Special Tactics Recruiter at his brother’s former home of Hill Air Force Base, UT.  Dan hails from Asheville, NC and is married to Marjorie Houghton from San Antonio, TX.

Viani
Capt Augustin Viani, 28, USAF, entered Combat Rescue Officer training directly after graduating the Air Force Academy in 2007. In Jan 2009, he sustained a fall during helicopter rope ladder training, resulting in a concussion and fractured spine. He was surgically repaired with a titanium spinal fusion. He recovered and was waivered to resume training 6 months later. In Dec 2009, he graduated as a Combat Rescue Officer, being assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB. After 2 OEF deployments (250 missions), Capt Viani was in a canopy entanglement with another teammate during parachuting training in August 2011.  The crash-landing resulted in a concussion, multiple pelvic fractures, rib fractures and torn knee ligament. He was immediately repaired with titanium hardware, followed by knee surgery 5 months later after being wheel chair bound for 3 months. Capt Viani recovered and was waivered again to resume training in Oct 2012.  Gus is married to Emily Viani from Albuquerque, NM.

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Interview w/ Alan Arnette

Monday, February 4th, 2013

One of our Everest climbers was interviewed by Alan Arnette, who runs the most popular Everest / 7 Summits website on the planet.¬† The team met Alan during the 2010 climb of Antarctica’s highest peak, Mt. Vinson.¬† Alan was climbing the 7 Summits to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s and has gone on to create a huge website dedicated to high-altitude mountaineering.

Today he released an interview with Major Rob Marshall, one of our Everest climbers and the co-founder of the USAF 7 Summits Challenge.¬† The interview does a great job summing up the ‘Challenge and the team’s goals.

Alan’s site is viewed by hundreds of thousands of consistent readers and his support of the team should be a great help in spreading the exciting message of this Everest climb.

Check it out on Alan’s site: http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2013/02/04/everest-2013-interview-with-rob-marshall-us-air-force-7-summits/

Descending from ‘high camp’, Antarctica 2010

Bluebird in the Whites

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Training Update: Bluebird in the Whites
by Maj. Malcolm Schongalla, LC-130 Pilot, US Air Force Reserves

 

The thermometer was in the single digits, and the winds atop Mount Washington were breaking 100 mph.  Clear, cold, and not a cloud in the sky!  It was the perfect weekend to get outside, and stretch the muscles on some New Hampshire ice.

Yesterday (26 Jan 2013), I had warmed up to the chilly temperatures on a short excursion up Mt. Cardigan. ¬†My dashboard read 5′F at thetrailhead,and the higher we climbed, the windier it got. ¬†The bald summit was buffeted by gusts topping 50 knots o rmore, but Kelly and I bundled up and took in a great panorama. ¬†The only obstacle to my view was condensation from my own breath, which relentlessly hung around my sunglasses.

Today, I was looking to venture a little farther afield, so Dartmouth ice climber Ted Sumers and I hit the road for Crawford Notch at dawn. Ted had chosen some classic, moderate, New England ice routes that he wanted to test his lead skills on.  I was looking forward to testing out some adjustments on my gear.  I had tweaked the fit on my crampons, and had some new layers of clothing to check out.  We were soon on the approach at Mount Willard.

Our early start wasn’t enough to beat the first party to Cinema Gulley, so we backtracked to another great route called Left Handed Monkey Wrench. ¬†It was only 25 minutes from the car, and we soloed up some some easy water ice on what the guidebook euphemistically calls, “a rather sketchy approach.”

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This route proved to be a nice, comfortable warm-up. ¬†After some easy WI-3 and some more hiking, we arrived at the start of the ever-asthetic Upper Hitchcock. ¬†Conditions were looking pretty fat, and we’d have no problem burying our longest ice screws. ¬†The striking,overhanging wall on climber’s left helped keep us nicely sheltered from the persistent wind. ¬†My layers were working out well. ¬†I had put my heavy mittens awaybefore the first gulley, and didn’t have to take them out again the rest of theday. ¬†My relatively lightweightsingle-leather boots were even keeping my feet warm in the frigid temps of the morning. ¬†My core was toasty, but not sweaty.

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Upper Hitchcock topped out in a small alcove full of beautiful, delicate icicles. ¬†The sun reflected through them, and it reminded me of what I love most about climbingice. ¬†We rapped back down one ropelength, and sidestepped over to theexposed East Slabs of Mt. Willard to get in another route. ¬†At 2pm, we ticked off the coldest,longest, line of the day. ¬†The sun was asserting itself against the Arctic weather system, and we experienced adiverse spectrum of ice conditions all up and down the mountain. ¬†This is no Ouray Ice Park… ¬†From plastic to rotten, brittle to near-slush, ice routes in the White Mountains will keep you on your guard!

Making our way back to the car, I made note of the things I wanted to shore up during the next two months before Nepal. ¬†I’m going to upgrade the toe bails of my old Sabretooth crampons- ¬†BD now makes them with a metal tongue-and-ring that comes up over the toe of the boot, to mate with the anklestrap. ¬†The crampon adjustments kept the ‘pons firmly on my feet today, so I know they have potential. ¬†I’ve had problems with them in the past, and I won’t takethat chance on Lobuche. ¬†I’m also looking for suggestions for new boots for Nepal, and the crampons will have to fit those flawlessly, too. ¬†For layers, I need a bigger technical shell witha size “long” cut. ¬†And comparing yesterday to today, I felt a real benefit to wearing ski goggles instead of shades, that I haven’t previously noticed in warmer conditions.

Overall, a great weekend! ¬†Today’s bitter cold was an ironic contrast to the melting temperatures that slowed my operations in Antarctica last month. ¬†This winter is shaping up to be a great improvement over last year, in the Whites. ¬†And I’m looking forward to lots of trail climbing with heavy training backpacksduring the upcoming weeks!

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Everest Snack Foods

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Spent the weekend¬†thinking about the gear necessary for the climb.¬† Luckily our team members already have most the gear we need, but there are always some additions necessary for each trip.¬† As I was finishing up a tuna sandwich last night, I started thinking about food on the climb.¬† I’ll probably be one of the lightest, if not the lightest, climber on this trip.¬† At 150lbs, I don’t have much extra weight on these ol’ bones.¬† So gaining weight before the climb is going to be important for me.¬†

So too will be the task of keeping that weight on as long as possible while going up and down Everest.¬† Good news is that I like to eat.¬† Even at altitude I’ve been able to push food into my mouth and chew it just long enough to slide it into my belly.¬† However, Everest will be unlike my previous climbs.¬† Even w/ supplemental O2, getting the calories in up at altitude will be a great challenge.

Last night I decided to make some bulk purchases of my favorite mountain snacks.¬† No, I’m not talking about Hostess Ding Dongs (even if they were still being made, they don’t make my list for best all-round snacks… though they sure do taste good).¬† The purchase included three cases of Clif Bars.¬† These things have always satisfied my hunger and when cold/frozen, they give me something to gnaw on for a long time,¬†like a cow chews its cud.¬† Flavor of choice: Chocolate Chip Mint (it’s called Cool Mint Chocolate or something like that, but you get the point).¬† The mint flavor keeps me from feeling like I’m eating slightly moist saw dust, as that is how m0st energy bars taste after you’ve been eating them for days straight.¬† Also bought some of the new Coconut Choclate Chip- haven’t tired ‘em, but sounds good enough, and unlike any other flavor I’ll have on the mountain.¬† To round things off, I went with the ol’ standby: Crunchy Peanut Butter.¬† Been eating those since I was running cross country in high school.¬† Hard to beat.

I also grabbed two cases of Clif Shot Blocks.¬† These are essentially a cross between jello¬†squares and gummy bears.¬† Once again, it’s another nice thing to chew on slowly.¬† I used to play a game while climbing 14er’s in Colorado- how long could I make a gummy bear last once I tossed it in my mouth?¬† When you are hiking tons of miles in a day, it’s nice to have something dumb and easy like that to entertain yourself.¬† I think I first tried a few different types of ‘energy blocks’ when climbing the Matterhorn in ’07.¬† I like the ones that have a sharp fruit flavor- they cut through the dry-mouth feeling and wake the back of your tongue’s¬†tastebuds up.¬† These things don’t pack as much long-term energy as bar, but they go down easier.

Also decided to pick up a few containers of Nuun.¬† Ever heard of the stuff?¬† They are little discs that you throw into your water for electorlytes, vitamins and flavor.¬† The container they come in looks just like an Airborne container- white cylinder that holds 8-10 of the discs.¬† I first tried Noon when on McKinley and loved the cola flavor.¬† Plus, I dig ‘em because they’re from Seattle… gotta keep my purchases in the 206 when able!

And don’t worry- this isn’t some plug for Clif and Nuun.¬† I wish we had gotten some free stuff from them!¬† But as it always seems to be, these tasty treats will be coming from the fine folks at Visa credit cards… my card specifically.¬† ;)

Not sure what else I’ll take up there.¬† It’ll be several pounds of snacks in the end.¬† Maybe some trail mix, gummy bears/worms, little pieces of chocolate, and some nuts.¬† Hopefully some of the other climbers on the team will bring up different stuff and we can swap once we get bored with our own goodies.¬† Got any suggestions for what works for you on the mountain or while outdoors?

–Rob M

Return Safely- The #1 Goal

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

A great article recently in The New York Times highlights the fact that returning safely from a climb is more important than reaching the summit. A good read for anyone that climbs or takes part in adventure sports. Thanks to Dr. E. Marshall for the link!

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/us/for-climbers-risks-now-shift-with-every-step.html?emc=eta1

Memorial Day 2012

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

I was reading about the American Flag and our nation’s great history while enjoying time with family in Seattle, WA this evening… all a part of our Memorial Day extended weekend. ¬†It reminded me of how much I love to see the Stars and Stripes flying from atop flag poles, on the side of buildings, and of course from the rugged mountain peaks we carry it to as part of our 7 Summits Challenge.

I smile to think about the feeling I get when we pull it out of its protective bag and unfurl it on a summit.  The red and blue jump boldly out after what is usually several long days of climbing among snow, ice and rock.  What a beautiful contrast!

In honor of Memorial Day, I wanted to post some quotes/poems that are appropriate for this great day of remembrance.

“Our Flag” Henry Ward Beecher

“Our flag means, then all that our fathers meant in the Revolutionary War; it means all that the Declaration of Independence meant; it means all that the Constitution of our people, organizing for justice, for liberty and for happiness, meant.

Our flag carries American ideas, American history and American feelings … in its glorious insignia, it has gathered and stored chiefly this supreme idea: Divine right of liberty in man.

Every color means liberty; every thread means liberty; every form of star and beam or stripe of light means liberty: not lawlessness, not license; but organized, institutional liberty, – liberty through law, and laws for liberty!”

In grade school we had to memorize ‘Flander’s Field’, a poem written by a Canadian LtCol in 1915. ¬†It’s still one of my favorite, albiet sobering, poems.

IN FLANDERS FIELD

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row; 

That mark our place; and in the sky  
The larks, still bravely singing, fly  
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago  
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie  

In Flanders fields

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we
The torch; be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die  
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow  

In Flanders fields

In less than a year from now, we’ll have the American flag on the summit of the world. ¬†We’ll do it to remember and honor those Airmen that have fallen in the line of duty since 9/11 and to rally those still serving. ¬†Once again, I smile to think about how good that beautiful collection of stars and stripes will look flying from above 29,000ft.

Here’s to remembering those that have gone before us in the service of our nation.

“Climb High, Fly Low” ¬†– Maj Marshall