Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest

Therm-a-rest Blog Post

Therm-a-rest Blog Post

I have used Therm-a-rest ground pads on every climb in my Seven Summits journey and they have been amazing. I haven't had to repair a single hole and the light-weight design is ideal for the mountains. With that being said, I was extremely excited that Therm-a-rest was willing to share my story on their blog and social media streams! Thanks Therm-a-rest and check out the post here!

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MountainSmith Blog

MountainSmith Blog

MountainSmith is an awesome company that started in Golden, Colorado in 1979. They make some of the best backpacks in the industry as well as tents, trekking poles, camera bags, and portable coolers! MountainSmith was also one of the only companies to help me with gear for my Everest climb and has since go on to invite me to be an ambassador for their brand as well as provide some packs for our Backpacks and Bleeders program! Please chek out their website if you're interested in some great gear!

MountainSmith invited me to write a blog post for their site to share a little more about my experiences on Everest! To read the article click here!

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How long did it take to climb Everest?

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How long did it take to climb Everest?

Since I've been home and sharing my story about climbing Mt. Everest, one of the most frequent questions I get is about how long I was climbing. This seems like it should be a pretty straightforward answer but it's not, so I thought I would explain it more in a post.

After a couple days of travel just to get to Nepal, we spent several days visiting the Nepal Hemophilia Society. Patrick James Lynch and the rest of the Believe Limited film crew, as well as my wife Jessica and friend Laurie Kelley, visited the hemophilia treatment center, the society offices and several homes of individuals living with hemophilia in the country. This was an incredibly powerful experience and I could go into an entire blog post just about that…and hopefully someday will.

After that incredible experience, we met up with the rest of the climbing team and got ready to head to the mountain. The first, and surprisingly one of the most dangerous aspects of this whole trip was the flight from Kathmandu to the village of Lukla. Tenzing-Hillary Airport is known as one of the most dangerous airports in the world and once you've landed there you know why! The runway is carved into the side of a mountain, is incredibly short and angled uphill to help planes slow down before the stone wall at the end of the runway! I posted a video below of a plane landing there and trust me, this doesn't do it justice!

Watching planes land at the incredible Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Nepal before our trek to Everest basecamp
Jess and I crossing one of the many suspension bridges Photo Credit: Ryan Waters

Jess and I crossing one of the many suspension bridges Photo Credit: Ryan Waters

Everest Basecamp is still 33 miles and 8,200 vertical feet away! The trek is incredible. We traversed some amazing suspension bridges over raging rivers, marveled at the size and scale of the Himalayas and enjoyed the culture of the Sherpa people. The trek took 9 days total with a couple of rest days in the middle to adjust to the altitude we gained. We stayed in ‘tea houses' which are like little motels and some of the teahouses even had showers which was a fantastic bonus! 

After those spectacular 9 days, we arrived at our home for the next 6 weeks Everest Basecamp! Basecamp is an amazing site to behold! Tents stretch for over a mile along the rock covered glacier with huge mountains towering almost all the way around us. Jess and Laurie stayed at basecamp for three days and got to experience the Puja ceremony before they headed back down to Kathmandu and eventually home. That was a tough day but Tashi, our head Sherpa, told me, "Don't be sad, you will see her again very soon". I learned very quickly that Tashi was a very smart man.

Camp 1

Camp 1

After the Puja, which is a ceremony performed at basecamp that asks for safe passage up the mountain, our team was ready to climb and this is where it gets a little complicated to talk about how many days we were climbing. When you climb Mt. Everest you utilize a technique called ‘rotations'. Doing rotations is a way for your body to start adjusting to the extreme elevations on the mountain without having to stay at those high elevations for an extended period of time. For example, a few days after our Puja ceremony we set out for our first rotation up the mountain. On our first rotation, we climbed through the Khumbu Icefall to Camp 1 and spent the night there. This was our first trip through the icefall and our first big day of climbing. It was hard! The next day we took a pretty casual walk towards Camp 2 to get to higher elevations and then slept back at Camp 1. On the third day of the rotation, we went all the way back down to basecamp.

This process does a few things to help. First, by climbing to a higher elevation and sleeping lower, it tricks your body into adapting to that higher elevation without actually being up there which is cool. Second, basecamp is a much more comfortable spot to rest on Everest. Existing at the higher elevations on Everest doesn't really allow your body to recover and it's crucial to feel healthy before heading for the summit.

After our first rotation up the mountain, we rested for several days at basecamp. We ate tons, did short hikes throughout basecamp and up some trails around camp to keep active and get ready for rotation two. Our second rotation started out exactly like our first. We headed up through the icefall to Camp 1, which felt much better than our first journey up. This was a great sign that my body was adjusting to the elevation. We slept again at Camp 1 before heading to Camp 2 the next day. We had a rest day at Camp 2 before we climbed to Camp 3 the following day. Instead of spending the night at Camp 3, which is extremely taxing, we descended back to Camp 2 to sleep again. The last day of our rotation was spent dropping all the way back down to basecamp.

Inside the Khumbu Icefall. Photo Credit: Ryan Waters

Inside the Khumbu Icefall. Photo Credit: Ryan Waters

Once we completed our second rotation our bodies were in the right place to head for the summit. The only challenge was the weather and the fixed lines near the summit. 
As many of you know, there are a series of ropes attached to the ice and rock of the mountain that climbers clip into throughout the climb. The amazing Sherpa teams on the mountain put all of the ropes in place which is an incredible feat. Once we completed our second rotation, we had to wait for the ropes from Camp 4 to the summit to be set up, but the weather didn't cooperate. We ended up waiting a total of 16 days at basecamp for those ropes to be fixed and then a weather window that my guide Ryan felt was good enough for our summit bid. Those 16 days were some of the hardest of the climb. I was so anxious about the summit push and also desperately missing home. I just wanted my chance but waiting for the right time is essential. We hiked around basecamp a lot during those days. We played hundreds of games of cards and Yahtzee which got boring after a while but we ended up getting our shot.

The summit push encompassed seven total days. We bypassed Camp 1 and went straight to Camp 2 on our first day. It took us the same amount of time to get to Camp 2 on this trip as it took us to get to Camp 1 the first time! We had another rest day at Camp 2 which was filled with prep for the final push. Next, we headed for Camp 3 and spent the night on the side of the Lhotse Face. We had access to oxygen that night which was fantastic because just sitting up to quickly could take your breath away. The next destination was Camp 4, the highest camp on Everest at 26,000ft. We climbed that entire day with oxygen which was fantastic!

Steps from the summit! Photo Credit: Ryan Waters

Steps from the summit! Photo Credit: Ryan Waters

I pulled into Camp 4 in the mid-afternoon and crawled into my tent. The plan was to leave Camp 4 around 11 pm the same night so I didn't even take my down suit off. I just laid down and tried to rest as best as I could. I wore my oxygen mask the entire evening, only taking it off to drink some water and eat a little food. Finding the motivation to get out of the tent at 10:30 pm was difficult but I was ready for my chance. Heading to the summit took a grueling 11 hours and another 7 to descend back to Camp 4. I was so excited to crawl into my sleeping bag after that day and sleep until the next morning when we descended all the way down to Camp 2. Another night of sleeping at Camp 2 and one more long day back to basecamp ended our summit push.

The last two days at basecamp were spent recovering from that insane climb and packing all of our gear for our trip back home. It was a bittersweet moment. We had called basecamp and the mountain our home for 47 days and I had so many unforgettable experiences there. We also had to say goodbye to much of the amazing support team we had including the cooks and the climbing Sherpas. It was hard to say goodbye to them and tell them how much they helped me along the journey. I couldn't have done it without them.

So that was a long explanation but to make the answer simple, we spent 47 days at basecamp and on the mountain but only 15 days of that was actually climbing Everest. It sounds crazy saying that but I felt we were incredibly well prepared and picked the best weather window possible for climbing. Those 47 days, plus the rest of my time in Nepal will go down as one of the greatest adventures of my life!

Mt. Everest Climbing Route

Mt. Everest Climbing Route

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Purpose to Play

Purpose to Play

P2P and I got caught on what life is like after Mount Everest, what I'm up to now, and what's on the horizon. Spoiler alert ... it's another mountain! We touch on what it was like to infuse at 20,000 feet: "On Adventures of a Hemophiliac, Bombardier said, 'It was a rest day and I just wanted to chill like everyone else, but as I looked at our climb we were headed to the next morning, I knew I had to do it. The infusion wasn’t the smoothest, the vein rolled and I initially missed, but then I recovered. I felt incredibly proud of this infusion and I realize how lucky I am to be able to choose this adventure and journey, and have the access to the treatment I need to let me chase this dream.'"

Check out the full article here.

Purpose 2 Play is THE place to go if you want the positive and inspiring stories in sports. They cover athletes, coaches and fans at all levels of play, and portray what they're doing to make the world a little brighter. So dive in, go below the surface hype, and discover some extraordinary heroes. These are the sports stories that deserve to be told.

European Medical Journal

European Medical Journal

Thank you Martha Hopewell, Marelle Hart and David Kyne for helping to put this article together in the European Medical Journal, to highlight my Everest climb and more importantly Save One Life, Inc. Click here for the article.

Bombardier Blood!

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Bombardier Blood!

While I was starting my trek to Everest Basecamp Patrick James Lynch, my good friend and the director of our documentary, headed to the Hemophilia Federation of America's Annual Meeting. We just spent the week before running around Kathmandu having so many powerful experiences it could fill a lifetime. I headed out on the biggest endeavor of my lifetime and Patrick had about 5 days to work with the Believe team to edit this video together before he presented at a huge annual meeting. I can't imagine how stressful that was!

This was this first time the title Bombardier Blood would be announced to the public and honestly I was nervous about it and pretty happy I was distracted elsewhere. I was initially a little hesitant about the title, I didn't really want my name in the title. It seemed a little egotistical and made the documentary about me and not completely about the story. I told Patrick my concerns and then he explained his reasons for picking the title. Of course the blood references makes sense with the hemophilia but he really sold me when he reminded me that my uncle said it the first day of filming.

We were sitting on a wooden fence with Red Rocks in the background. It was a sunny day and I loved that we got to share this moment together. Uncle Dave is one of the main reasons I got into climbing and he always encouraged me to chase these dreams. After hearing that reason I was sold.

We were about a week into the trek when HFA started. I wanted to hear Patrick's talk about our incredible experience and see the reaction to the clip I hadn't seen yet. I was excited to finally watch it but.....we were on the trek to Everest and although we had some internet, downloading any video was out of the question. I saw the traction on facebook and everyone seemed to enjoy it which made me happy but I was looking forward to watching it.

It wasn't able to do that until I had summited the mountain and returned home. I almost forgot about it honestly until Jess brought it up. I was so nervous to watch it. I don't particularly like watching myself in videos, it feels so strange but I wanted to see Patricks work. I was blown away. The shots they were able to put together and the emotion the captured was powerful. I'm so glad we were able to partner together and I can't wait to see the entire film!

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Rare Disease Report

Rare Disease Report

"During the whole trek, Chris asked the hemophilia community and others to show their support by sponsoring a child or donating to his Nepal fund at Save One Life. Nearly 80 sponsorship pledges were made—a record number—and Chris’s original fundraising amount, $8,848 (the altitude of Everest in meters) was surpassed by 150%. The $13,000 raised will be used to support reconstruction of homes and income generating activities for the members of the Nepal Hemophilia Society."

Guest post by Martha Hopewell Published Online: Friday, Jun 30, 2017

Guest post by Martha Hopewell
Published Online: Friday, Jun 30, 2017

Rare Disease Report is a website and weekly e-newsletter that offers an independent voice for the Rare Disease Community. It strives to bring together medical, scientific, investment, regulatory, and advocate professionals interested in rare diseases and orphan drugs. It is an honor to be featured in their publication, and to continue to advocate for our bleeding disorders community. Check out the article here.

303 Magazine

303 Magazine

“Ten years ago, it would have been physically impossible for someone with hemophilia to attempt one of our 14ers here in Colorado, let alone the highest peaks on the seven continents.”
- Amy Board, executive director of the Colorado Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation.
 

AUTHOR:HOLLY GRAHAM PUBLISHED:06/21/17

AUTHOR:HOLLY GRAHAM
PUBLISHED:06/21/17

303 Magazine wrote a magnificent article about my adventure to Mount Everest and the importance behind advocating for outdoor excursions. Check out the article here and let me know what you think.

Colorado HTC Newsletter

Colorado HTC Newsletter

Growing up, my local HTC was like a second home for me. I visited frequently, and the nurses and PT's were family. They came to my baseball games, and were even in attendance at my wedding! So to say that I am humbled and honored to be featured in their newsletter would be an understatement. While I enjoy climbing and the thrill of the adventure, it is giving back to my community that truly gives me happiness. Thank you for the spotlight, and I will continue to make you proud!
Check out the newsletter here.

June 2017 The Clotting Connection Volume 7, Issue 6

June 2017 The Clotting Connection Volume 7, Issue 6

CLIMBTALK Radio 1190

CLIMBTALK Radio 1190

CLIMBTALK Radio 1190 KVCU Boulder is a local radio program that discusses current news, core issues, and controversies in the climbing world. This was my first time on the radio and it was thrilling! Check out the YouTube videos to get a peek at the show! Below is PART 1 of 4, so be sure to check out all four segments!

9News Segment

9News Segment

MAN WITH SEVERE HEMOPHILIA TALKS ABOUT CLIMBING MOUNT EVEREST

Chris Bombardier joins the list of Coloradans who have climbed Mount Everest, with a caveat that makes it all the more impressive: he has severe hemophilia.

Author:Sarah Anderson Published:06/12/17

Author:Sarah Anderson
Published:06/12/17

My local news station here in Denver gave an incredible shout out to my climb and fundraising efforts while I was in Nepal. I feel so honored to be able to share my story, and the stories of my fellow bleeders, with the local community at large. Advocacy and education is at the root of everything I believe in and accomplish.

Purpose to Play

Purpose to Play

"For every child who has been told no due to their bleeding disorder.
For every patient wondering when his next dose of life-saving clotting factor will be.
For every family who has plans derailed by hemophilia.
For every parent who goes to bed in agony not understanding how to treat their child’s disorder.
For every hemophiliac athlete who waits in quiet hesitation out of fear of injury.
For all of us overcoming the impossible.

This mountain is for you."

-Chris Bombardier on summiting Mount Everest

Thanks P2P for sharing my message!

Purpose 2 Play is THE place to go if you want the positive and inspiring stories in sports. They cover athletes, coaches and fans at all levels of play, and portray what they're doing to make the world a little brighter. So dive in, go below the surface hype, and discover some extraordinary heroes. These are the sports stories that deserve to be told.

1011 News Segment

1011 News Segment

"A Doane University graduate can now say he is the first person with Hemophilia to ever climb Mount Everest. But he wasn't just hiking for himself."

As a Doane College alumni, I am honored that my story was shared with the Nebraska community.

By Carly Jensen |  Posted: Fri 10:28 PM, Jun 02, 2017  |  Updated: Fri 10:31 PM, Jun 02, 2017

By Carly Jensen |  Posted: Fri 10:28 PM, Jun 02, 2017  |  Updated: Fri 10:31 PM, Jun 02, 2017

Denver Post

Denver Post

Thank you Denver Post for this awesome write up, and special thanks to my friend Jeff Bailey for describing my adventure so well. It was really cool to see my story printed in the sports section ... and just below a story about the Rockies!

By JEFF BAILEY | jbailey@denverpost.com | The Denver Post PUBLISHED: June 2, 2017 at 8:25 pm | UPDATED: June 24, 2017 at 9:39 pm

By JEFF BAILEY | jbailey@denverpost.com | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: June 2, 2017 at 8:25 pm | UPDATED: June 24, 2017 at 9:39 pm

How the Seven Summits Quest Began

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How the Seven Summits Quest Began

Since the public announcement of the Everest climb and documentary went live a few weeks ago I have really enjoyed sharing my story about the Seven Summits with a few folks that I've ran into. I've really appreciated all the support and encouragement I have received especially the stories from some hemo moms who shared my story with their kids!

As I have revisited my story in the past few weeks I have really enjoyed reflecting on what brought me to Everest and Nepal. It's been a pretty wild journey the past six years climbing five of the seven summits and on my way to number six but what keeps coming to the forefront of the story is how I reached my first summit and how Africa truly changed my life forever. I will more than happily share my story with you if we ever run into each other in person but I really wanted to share it here as well.

My first view of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2011

My first view of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2011

This crazy journey began late in 2010 when I was working as a lab technician in the Hemophilia Research Lab at the University of Colorado. My boss had been collaborating with a group from Indiana's Hemophilia Treatment Center on a project in Kenya to establish a hemophilia clinic and lab. She had already made one trip but needed some help on trip number two. That's when she asked me to go with her! I didn't even let her finish the sentence when I said yes! I was so excited to help the hemophilia community globally and something else got me really really excited. Mt. Kilimanjaro was only few hundred miles away from where we were heading! Climbing was still relatively new to me but I really wanted to try a big mountain and Kili was the perfect starting point!

About 3 months before my climb, I attended my first hemophilia community meeting, NACCHO. One of the speakers at the meeting was an incredible woman who spoke about hemophilia in the developing world. She showed images of joints damaged by years of untreated bleeds and massive hematomas. I was in tears by the end but had a better grasp on the importance of the work we would be doing in Kenya. At the end of the talk, this woman mentioned that she was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro later in the year as a fundraiser for her international hemophilia nonprofit Save One Life. It was fate! I worked up the courage to introduce myself and that's how I connected with on of the most inspirational women I know and best mentors I have ever had, Laurie Kelley. She invited me to join in on the fundraising efforts with my Kili climb even though my trip was a few months before hers. It felt good to have a mission involved in my climb.

I trained for several months for the climb and when the time came to head to Africa I was nervous but ready for the physical challenge. What I wasn't prepared for was the eye opening, life changing, experience I was about to have. Once we arrived in Eldoret, we went straight to the hospital to tour the facilities and the potential lab space. One of our teams doctors had already been there for a few days and introduced us to a boy she found on the hospital wards. When she found him, he was bleeding out after a surgery. His joints were all swollen and he was extremely weak. It was clear he had hemophilia to our team, but no one at the hospital knew it. He was bleeding out because he had a surgery without any factor. A surgery he probably didn't even need. Our doctors had brought factor and treated the boy and he ended up leaving the hospital before we left. Meeting him changed my life forever. It changed my perspective on my own hemophilia and what was truly important in life. 

Before one of our educational talks about bleeding disorder with Dr. Chite and a young man with hemophilia from Kenya

Before one of our educational talks about bleeding disorder with Dr. Chite and a young man with hemophilia from Kenya

We spent two more weeks at the hospital, training and educating the staff about bleeding disorders and how to diagnose the different types of hemophilia. It was a fulfilling experience but I couldn't shake the feeling of how easily this could have been me. If I wasn't born where I was, when I was, my life could've looked like theirs. I finally realized what hemophilia really was.

When my uncle and I separated from the rest of the group and headed to Kilimanjaro I still couldn't shake that experience. I struggled with feelings of guilt as we began our climb. Why was I so lucky to be able to climb this mountain when those living with hemophilia just a few hundred miles away were suffering? As I summited Kilimanjaro I realized two very important things; first, I loved climbing big mountains, and two, I needed to do more for the global hemophilia community. That moment is when I set my sights on the Seven Summits and now it's time for the big one, Mt. Everest! 

Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

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BloodStream Podcast

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BloodStream Podcast

On my way back to Colorado from Alaska Hemophilia Camp I had a quick stop over in St. Louis. And by quick I mean about 10 hours total! My friend Patrick James Lynch had invited my to take part in Powering Through, which is a nationwide live speaker series for and about the bleeding disorders community. The event went great and I had a blast sharing my story which you can watch below.

After the event Patrick had asked me if I wanted to be interviewed for his podcast. Having recently become a podcast addict I thought it would be great to take part. We had a great conversation and despite a lack of sleep I think it went great! You can watch the podcast by clicking the photo below or clicking here!

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From Fun in the Sun to Camping in Alaska: June Recap

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From Fun in the Sun to Camping in Alaska: June Recap

June has been absolutely amazing! I haven't posted much from a lack of wifi and lack of time but I do want to share a little recap of an amazing month! Belize has been on our calendar for a long time. My good friend Brandon, who I've known since I was eight, and his awesome fiancé Kait decided to do the whole destination wedding thing and Jess and I were all for it. we headed down a couple days early to check out some sites and meet the rest of the crew there.

Our first day was spent cruising up a river on a speedboat and checking out wildlife. We saw crocodiles, iguanas and even got to feed a spider monkey named Mickey! If that wasn't cool enough we stopped at the amazing Mayan ruins of Lamanai. Our tour guide explained the significance of the city, the uses of the temples and a little about the Mayan culture. It was fascinating to think how old the ruins were and how many people lived there. The city was over ten miles long with an estimated 40-60,000 people living there! Only a tiny fraction has been unearthed but every jungle covered hill hides something amazing. It was a fascinating place and I loved visiting the site.

The boat ride back to the car was not nearly as much fun as the trip out. A huge thunderstorm hit and the rain felt like needles hitting our face! We did our best to protect ourselves but it was uncomfortable and we got soaked! It was an interesting end to a really fun day!

The rest of the crew was arriving in Belize that next day so we just decided to stroll around Belize City and a few museums before meeting them. It was an interesting day and the Mayan museum was fun but the overall feel of Belize City wasn't great. Apparently they have a very high crime rate in the city and you can feel that tension. We felt safe and almost everyone was incredibly friendly but the feel was strange. We jumped to the airport to meet the rest of the crew and then took a water taxi out to Ambergris Caye, where we would be staying the next five nights.

The houses Brandon and Kait rented were amazing! The first night was spent drinking beer and relaxing. We got up the next day and headed out to for an all day boat ride and my first SCUBA dive in the ocean. I was really nervous. I'm not as comfortable in the water as Jess but once we dove in, it was amazing! We stayed at around 40ft the first dive and saw a manatee, a sea turtle, a moray eel and more fish than I could imagine. I was hooked. We jumped back on the boat and headed to Shark Ray Alley where you could jump in and swim with nurse sharks and sting rays. The sharks and rays are so comfortable with people that they swim right next to you and we all touched the sharks. It was a pretty wild experience. I do have to say that as I reached for the shark I thought to myself, "As a bleeder, should I really pet a shark?" Obviously this passed quickly and I did.

The next day we got another dive in and went deeper. I wasn't nervous about the dive at all but the surface water was super rough. I actually thought about bailing on the dive except then I would have to sit on the boat the whole time which sounded worse. Once in the water everything was awesome! We swam through a narrow passage with coral walls on each side and it was absolutely breathtaking. After the dive we meet some of the other party members and snorkeled around before heading back.

The wedding day started out great. The divers in the group decided we had enough time to get in a dive before the wedding. It was another great dive and at one point a nurse shark same up between my legs! It was a crazy experience! We headed back to the house and got ready for the big day. We gathered on the beach outside the house for the most beautiful wedding I have seen. It was so great to see my friend so happy and taking such a cool step in life. Thats when things went downhill for me. There had been a stomach bug going around and I thought I escaped it. I felt great all day until dinner after the wedding. Something just felt wrong. Over the next day and a half I have never felt so terrible or been as sick. For everyones sake I won't go into details. It was a disappointing way end a great trip but we still had a blast!

After that great adventure I came home for a day and then headed out to Alaska for Camp Frozen Chozen. This year I was asked to help with the CIT (counselor-in-training) training that took place before camp. We camped for two nights and did some really amazing training activities. The CIT's setup camp, had a chili cook-off, hiked a glacier, saw a bear and really bonded. It was amazing to see these young people grow so much in a short weekend. After the weekend we headed to the main camp. I have always had fun at Alaska's Hemophilia Camp but this year was even better that usual. Besides struggling to paddle a "raft" built by my cabin out of a kick board, milk jugs, pool noodles and duck tape I had a blast! My cabin was full of great kids that teach me more about life than I can ever teach them. I can't wait to see what's in store next year and see my Alaska family again!

My first dive in the ocean was amazing! We saw a manatee, eel, a turtle and more fish than I could believe. I wish my underwater video skills were a bit better but here is a glimpse of our dive!

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Sometimes Plan B Doesn't Always Go As Planned: Mt. Hood

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Sometimes Plan B Doesn't Always Go As Planned: Mt. Hood

Yesterday my wife and I attempted to climb Mt. Hood, a beautiful dormant volcano just outside Portland, Oregon.  This was our backup after our planned climb of Mt. Rainier was derailed due to horrible weather. Mt. Hood is 3,000ft shorter than Rainier and most people climb it in only one day instead of 2 to 3 days like Rainier. It's still a glacier which means hiking on snow the entire time and some objective dangers that we needed to be aware of.

We left Washington Monday morning to do a light waterfall hike close to Hood before we headed up to Timberline Lodge. This would be our starting point in the morning. We set up "camp" in the back of our rental car, I heated up some water for dinner, we ate, I infused, and we laid down. It was surprisingly comfortable for being the back of a car, but there wasn't a whole lot of sleeping. I couldn't help thinking about the climb especially since an epic view of Hood appeared just before we laid down. It's an impressive mountain and a little daunting! 

The view of Mt. Hood from our car.

The view of Mt. Hood from our car.

Our 11:30pm wake-up call came quickly. I think I slept for 30 minutes, but overall I felt good. We tried to dress as much as possible in the warm car and just after midnight we stepped out into the wind. As we started the climb from the the east side of the lodge conditions seemed good; the snow was in good shape and the winds were mild. It was much cloudier than I expected but the full moon would peek through intermittently. We climbed for 20 minutes before the winds picked up. There was a forecast of 10mph winds overnight diminishing into 5mph in the morning. The winds were much stronger than forecasted and with it came some nasty sleet precipitation. To make it worse, it was blasting us almost straight in the face.

Jess and I got our hardshells on to keep us dry but after over an hour of this weather it started to take its toll. The sleet finally broke but the winds persisted. I asked Jess how she was doing and she said that her fingers were getting cold. We took a moment to adjust her layers; she put some mittens on as well as my expedition down jacket. We were hoping that would be enough to warm her up but it didn't help. 

There is a running joke with Jess and I about our body's ability to regulate temperature. She laughs when I go outside in shorts to shovel in a snowstorm and I tease her that she is wearing a hoody and slippers in the middle of summer. In the instance of being on a mountain in not ideal conditions, temperature regulation is extremely important. Unfortunately, this nasty bit of weather chilled Jess to the bone and she couldn't warm up. She pushed herself really hard to overcome this, which I am very proud of, but she was miserable. We reached the top of the Timberline Ski lift at about 8,500ft and I could see the misery in her eyes. She's not a quitter, and she was willing to push herself farther for me.

I really appreciated her drive but the right call was to go down and get her warm. It was a big bummer just because I felt really good on the climb, especially considering my recent hamstring injury, but we are a team and we make decisions that are right for the both of us. On the way down, Jess admitted that she hated every bit of that climb. This type of glacier mountaineering is a brutal sport that puts us in very uncomfortable situations and for some individuals, like myself, we enjoy it; for others, including Jess, there was no joy. I'm bummed that she is probably done climbing glaciers, but i'm really glad that she was brave enough to try something that I love. I can't ask for more than that!

Jess was so cold when we got back to the car she crawled back into my -40 sleeping bag and laid there as we started our drive back to my brothers house!

Jess was so cold when we got back to the car she crawled back into my -40 sleeping bag and laid there as we started our drive back to my brothers house!

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Mt. Rainier Status Update

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Mt. Rainier Status Update

Here is a quick update about our attempt to climb Mt. Rainier. Not what we we're hoping but I believe that it's the right decision.

Quick update on the status of our Mt. Rainier climb.

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