With the Mt. Rainier climb a big success (see article 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
 
 

Good Morning Everyone!  It's shaping up to be a beautiful day here at the base of Mt. Rainier.  The sun is hidden behind clouds, which is keeping the morning cool and fresh. We imagine the sun will burn it off, but if not, that'd be fine- as otherwise it's going to be a hot day on the snow.  The team is meeting at the Whittaker Bunkhouse now and will be headed to Paradise (starting point for the climb) at 0800.

Last night 11 of the 12 climbers met at a small cabin in Ashford.  We got to know each other, ate burgers, and shared a lot about ourselves. Team leader Mark Uberuaga spelled out his plan for the climb and talked a lot about risk management and how we all have an important part in it- from the most experienced climbers all the way through the most novice.  Then we did a gear check- looking at each climber's equipment and clothing to ensure they meet requirements- warm enough, light enough, waterproof, properly sized, etc.  It was easy- this group of climbers is motivated and squared away!

Maj Uberuaga, Marshall, and Muller stayed up with a few other folks until real late packing up food, taping lids shut, bagging hot chocolate, and all the basic steps for getting team food ready.  The morning came a little to quickly, but with a little coffee, we're all ready.  Speaking of that, time for me to head for some coffee and the gear rental store.

We will try to keep you all updated, but unsure as to how we'll be able to do that.  In the mean time, the GPS tracker will become active, so feel free to follow along athttp://www.t-sciences.com/.  If the link in the upper right corner isn't working at the moment, it will be soon!

Thanks for your support as always.  GO AIR FORCE!

--Maj Marshall

 
 
The time has come for the next step in the USAF 7 Summits Challenge!  Just two months after flying the US Air Force flag from the summit of Mt. Everest, our team of Airmen mountaineers are off to another peak.  This time it’s not a huge mountain in a far-flung region of the globe.  As part of our new plan to teach fellow Airmen the healing power of the mountains, we’re going to stick to accessible peaks in America.  For our first climb, we’re headed to Mt. Rainier in Washington State.

The team starts their journey tomorrow, Friday July 19th.  We have a total of 12 climbers.  Six are active duty Airmen, one is a retired AF O-6, two were previous Airmen, and the rest are civilians that wanted to be part of this inaugural climb.  Two of our active duty Airmen are wounded Combat Controllers- both sustained combat injuries during Special Operations missions in Afghanistan.  We had several other Airmen that were dealing with physical and mental difficulties signed up, however they had to drop out for various reason- we’re looking forward to getting them on our next climb.

On Saturday morning, the team will climb up to Camp Muir (10,00ft)- the halfway mark of the Rainier climb.  Maj Mark Uberuaga will lead the team and Maj Rob Marshall and Maj Graydon Muller will act as assistant guides.  We’ll spend that afternoon and all of Sunday at Camp Muir teaching mountaineering skills such as self-arrest, rope travel, glacier awareness, rope rescue, and other important skills.  It’ll also be a time to get to know each other, share stories of how the mountains have helped each of us cope with difficulties and get to know ourselves better.

Monday morning is summit day.  The team will be up around midnight for an alpine start.  Our goal is to reach the summit sometime between 7-9am.  After we fly the Air Force and American flags from the top of Washington State, we’ll knock out some pushups to highlight the importance of physical fitness and to honor our fallen friends.  After that, it’s a good hike back down to the base of the mountain and back to our lodging.  Burgers and cold drinks will likely be the main items on the menu at this point.

Big thanks to International Mountain Guides for loaning the team essential equipment for the climb.  To Aviator GearKirtland Federal Credit Union, and Southwest AMBUCS - thank you for your generous support.  Additionally, we’d like to thanks all the individuals that made donations to individual climbers- your funds will go to cover all the costs of our Airmen-in-need climbers in the climb and the next one!  We’ve raised over $9,000 in the build up for this climb and the donations are continuing to come in.  (Want to donate?  Click "Support Us" above)

Follow our progress via GPS tracker at: www.USAF7Summits.com

Do you know anyone that would benefit from an event like this?  Have them contact us!  Or, if you think they could use a helping hand, let us know and we’ll give ‘em a call and encourage them to join us on our next trip.  Maybe they don’t want to wait?  Well, we have enough great Airmen out there that we can put them in touch with someone in their area to head into the outdoors with.  Whether it’s mountaineering, fishing, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking or kayaking, there’s always a way to get outside and get working on overcoming your problems through sweat, teamwork, and friendship.

Climb High, Fly Low

Maj Rob Marshall, USAF


 
 
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July is almost upon us.  That means we are just three weeks from our inaugural climb promoting "Airmen-Taking-Care-of-Airmen" (July 19-22).  We've got a few spots left on the Mt. Rainier trip, so if you know someone that would benefit from this climb, let us know.  Perhaps you're looking to join us?  Blow off some steam, sweat with some new friends as you push yourself mentally and physically on one of the most beautiful mountains in the world? ... Do it!

We already have about eight climbers with us.  It's a mix of military and civilian, men and women- an Iraq veteran who lost a leg to an IED, an Air Force Academy grad who is now a physical therapist at the VA in San Diego, a prior Airmen who now works in the medical field in Boise, a few AF pilots from all over, a doctor from Boise, and a financial manager from NYC.

We have room for more, so it's not too late to throw your name in the hat and join in this awesome experience  Just read about the details under the "What's Next" tab at the top of this page and then contact us at usaf7summits@gmail.com.  Climbing experience not necessary- we'll show you the ropes.  It's sure to be an adventure and climbing Mt. Rainier will lift your spirits, get your heart rate up, and change your life for the better!  

--Maj Rob Marshall

 
 
We are just flying back to our respective duty stations after 17 hours in New York City.  The team self-funded the trip for three Airmen that were part of the Everest expedition.  Maj Marshall, Capt Merrin and SMSgt Disney went live on Fox & Friends, made a surprise appearance on the Today Show, and then gave an inspiring interview on Fox News Radio.  Below is a link to the radio interview (which includes video) and YouTube posts of their other on-camera appearances.

We want to send a HUGE thanks out to the people that supported this event.  It was a positive message that Americans all over the nation heard and we couldn't have done it without your help.  Not only will it spread patriotism, but it'll help us introduce US Airmen to the healing powers of mountaineering and time outdoor.

The Mt. Rainier climb in July is coming along nicely.  We have several people signed up, included a guest climber: SSgt Chad Jukes, who lost a leg serving in the Army.  He's an accomplished climber and will help us teach Airmen how to reach new summits!
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Click to see and hear the interview
 

The Next Step...

06/08/2013

 
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Good Morning Everyone!  This is the first blog post of what will hopefully be many years of exciting, patriotic mountaineering events that will inspire and elevate members of the US Air Force.

After traveling the world's mountains for the last eight years and flying the Air Force and American flags from the summit of grand mountains, we're shifting gears.  It's time to take this mountaineering experience and momentum and use it to help Airmen struggling with mental and physical trauma.  Whether it be battlefield wounds or a bout of depression, we want to introduce our fellow Airmen to the healing power of mountain summits.