Alan Arnette recently pointed in a tweet to a short piece in Elevation Outdoors Magazine about his Seven Summits climbs to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and to raise money for research. That raised some issues I thought I had to respond to. Here is what I said there:
Thanks for keeping an open mind on the cause-based climbers. I’ve gotten to know Alan through his generosity in responding to my mountaineering questions the last few years. His 7(8) summits bid is really inspirational, and has gotten me both more interested in mountaineering and more interested in his cause, which I support whole-heartedly now…from Connecticut. I do hope the outdoor companies realize that this is what ought to be supported far more vigorously and generously than giving the professionals all of the accolades for speed climbing a peak, or putting up new routes in the Karakoram or China. Those, of course, are great to read about, but are ultimately about that climber and nothing else. But climbing to bring a community together, to inspire and yes to raise a bit of money–that, to my mind has far more value for mountaineering. By the way, I am so inspired by Alan that I am coming with him to Kilimanjaro (what a great privilege) in September. In such a case, I win, the cause wins, the mountaineering companies win. Climbing with a purpose, yes even by people in their 50′s and beyond, getting out there, helping others. That represents the very best in the mountaineering community. Climb on Alan!