In exactly 26 days, Michael Rowley, Jeff Marsh, Bradley Castaneda and Ryan Frederick, will be climbing to the summit of Mount Rainier. Ascending the composite volcano in Washington is no easy feat, but this team of entrepreneurs, creatives and adventure-enthusiasts are especially determined, spurred on by a greater mission than just the challenge of the mountain. Their purpose behind the climb is one beyond themselves, a cause that we are proud to be sponsoring and one that you too can play a hand in.
On January 1st, a gunman murdered Margaret Anderson, a law enforcement ranger on duty in Mount Rainier National Park, leaving Margaret's husband without a wife and her two young children without a mother. Operating under the 14,4 Foundation, founded by Michael Rowley, the team is attempting the climb to raise money to start a college fund for Margaret's two children. The math is easy: 10 cents sponsors 1 foot, $1 sponsors 10 feet, and $100 sponsors 1,000 feet of the climb. Their goal is for a minimum of $1,500 to be raised for the Andersons, roughly coinciding with the 14,410 foot trek. "We are hoping to involve a lot of local people from the Rainier community, the Ranger community, guide services
and outdoor enthusiasts. We believe that $1,500 is an easy goal to achieve, and foresee several thousand dollars being raised for this cause," said Jeff Marsh.
We would like to encourage you to join with this group in honoring and celebrating the life of a fallen ranger and supporting the family she left behind. Scroll through to the bottom of the post for simple instructions on how to make a donation. On your way, read more about the event and view imagery from previous hiking trips processed with VSCO Film. A number of the photos in this feature were taken by Jeff Marsh and are being sold as 11x14 Canvas' as part of the fundraising effort. If you are interested in making a purchase, you can learn more here. You can also view their fundraising video on Vimeo.
* June 25th update: Just last Thursday, another park ranger passed away while assisting in the rescue of 4 climbers. The team is now climbing for him as well and have pushed back the dates to August 13-16th so the Rangers and park staff can have as much involvement as possible.
Michael Rowley, an avid mountaineer, founded the 14,4 Foundation out of a passion for the mountain and a desire to help others. Originally, the Foundation was strictly designed to support injured and fallen climbers. But because of the nature and location of Margaret's death, the Foundation opened it's reach to anyone involved in the outdoor and climbing communities. The climb serves as the first fundraiser through the foundation. For this first climb, every penny donated through the foundation will go directly to the Anderson family. Other corporate funds are being raised to cover costs of the climb and to produce the documentary.
I, Jeff, have been friends with each of the members of the team for several years. Although not everyone knows each other well, I wanted to form a team of like-minded creatives that could help tell the story and promote it across all of our social-media platforms. Each of us are very active in the creative community, as well as supporting different non-profits. I also wanted to include guys that had not yet summited Rainier but were committed to training and preparing for the climb.What about Margaret Anderson herself or her story touched the team members and made you want to raise money for her children's college fund?
None of us know the Anderson family well, but because the climbing and outdoor community is so close, we all have crossed paths with Margaret over the years. My father worked side-by-side with her daily as a volunteer ranger and was working on the mountain the day of the tragedy. Last fall, our goal was simply to summit the mountain. But after the events , we decided to make it more than just a summit attempt. We all are business owners and creatives; so we wanted to document our trip, gain awareness and raise funds for a great cause. It was a no-brainer that we wanted to support Margaret somehow. There have already been several memorial funds set-up for Margaret, but we wanted to create an event that drew the climbing & ranger communities together and provided the opportunity for people to get involved.
Every week for the last 2 months, we all have participated in some type of training climb. Because some of us are in Washington and Ryan is in California, we all are doing our own training, as well as partnering up with each other. Brad and I have made it up to Camp Muir, the 10k foot base camp for Mt. Rainier, multiple times. Michael just spent 3 weeks in Alaska summiting Denali, the highest peak in North America. Last week, Ryan and I hiked up Mt. San Jacinto in SoCal, the single greatest elevation gaining hike in one day in the US (22 miles / 10,800 ft in 1 day). On days we aren't climbing big peaks, we are running local hills, stadium stairs and trail-running.
The number one cause for failure in summiting Mt. Rainier is weather. That is something out of our control. We are blocking out a 5 day window for our 3 day trip in hopes to find a good enough weather window to make it to the summit. We are taking the most common route and will have a tremendous amount of support from climbing guides and support teams. So we are very confident we will make it all the way up. Because we are making it a 3 day trip instead of a 2 day trip, we are taking other factors out of the equation such as fatigue and high-altitude sickness.
Our overall goal is to put together a mid-length documentary of the entire process of the trip. This includes training, fundraising, interviews of members of the ranger and climbing communities, and the actual climb itself. The purpose would be to tell Margaret's story as well as our story of raising support and awareness. Most importantly, we want to portray the coming-together of the outdoor community as a way to rally even more support for the Anderson family and other members of the outdoor community who have suffered injury or loss of life. We will be bringing a full-repertoir of film gear. We have a support team that will assist in carrying gear and shot set-up. We are adding an extra day to our climb so that we have time for on-mountain filming and interviews of the team and support crew.
Offering stability to individuals and their families who have been affected through life-altering climbing accidents or service duties while maintaining the outdoors.
How to Donate:
1. Through Paypal, enter your donation amount.
2. Enter Jeffreyj1010@mac.com as the recipient's email.
3. Make sure to use the "gift" option. Donations are tax-deductible and receipts are available upon request.
* Email any questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org