Stephanie Smith

Its midnight and I am awake. I am rechecking my gear for what seems like the 20th time. Trekking poles check. Crampons...check. Harness check. I hope I have everything because its time to go. I am meeting the rest of the group at 1 a.m. Time flies and before I know it I am standing on the mountain. Its cold and dark, except the glow of our headlamps. The excitement of what lies ahead seems to warm my body. Our guides start to hike and we follow in single file. I place my feet in the tracks in front of me. We are starting to ascend the spectacular 11,249 foot Mt. Hood. The fear that had encompassed me has been replaced by anticipation, excitement and adrenaline. That was 2005, it was my first Summit for Someone (SFS) climb and it was my first mountaineering experience. We reached the summit that year. It was a defining moment in my life and the only thing to do was to sign up again. I am now registered for my 4th climb with SFS, Mt. Shuksan in the North Cascades, and I know that it will not disappoint.

Initially, I was attracted to the SFS benefit climbs because of Big City Mountaineers (BCM), their mission and the youth they served. I know the impact the outdoors has had on my life; I could only hope that given the opportunity it would do the same for them. Also, I cant praise the staff at BCM enough. Year after year, I am increasingly impressed by their organization and their kindness. I have been fortunate enough to meet some of them on the climbs. Lastly, SFS has given me the opportunity to go to some breathtaking places and meet some pretty extraordinary people. And I can not tell a lie, the gear package is pretty sweet as well.

There really aren't enough good things I can say about Big City Mountaineers, their staff, the sponsors and the guide services. They continue to grow the SFS climbs and make it a better event every year. This means more youth will benefit, therefore I never hesitate to recommend the SFS benefit climbs. And if you decide to take the chance, maybe I will see you on the mountain.