This year I had the privilege and pleasure of attending several Outdoor Nation events to represent the North Face as a proud advocate of the movement to get more youth outside. I told my story of finding passion and direction through climbing in Yosemite, to hundreds of young people who are committed to turning the tide on the sad reality that at no time in human history have kids spent less time outdoors.
I spoke alongside Juan Martinez who is an Outdoor Participation ambassador for The North Face’s initiative to inspire more people everywhere to explore and push their personal limits in the outdoors. His story of growing up surrounded by the negativity, gangs, and crime in South Central LA and then having his life changed by getting the opportunity to camp out and see stars for the first time was truly inspirational. Juan’s journey reinforced what I have always believed; that these programs are invaluable for creating a bridge from the hustle and bustle of urban life to the quiet magic of Mother Nature.
The North Face works with thousands of bikers, climbers, runners, backpackers, explorers and adventurers who are passionate about the outdoors. From the mail room, to the athlete team, we are PSYCHED on getting out there! I can attest first hand that The North Face commitment to outdoor participation is sizeable and heart felt. I am proud to say that each year The North Face Explore Fund gives hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations like the one that transformed Juan’s life path.
Last year one of the recipients of the Explore Fund was Big City Mountaineers an organization that is committed to enhancing the lives of under-resourced teens through transformative outdoor experiences. Their vision is to achieve a lasting presence in America’s major metro areas. They help 10,000 kids a year, who would otherwise never receive such a fun and inspiring experience, participate in wilderness expeditions.
I love organizations like B.C.M. and am excited to have put together a fundraiser through their awesome“Summit for Someone” program. Along with an old college friend Bennet Barthelemy, I’ll be attempting a first ascent on the little climbed Dragon’s Horn, one of the largest granite walls in South East Asia. We’re putting the “fun” in fundraiser!!
This October begins our Journey to Tioman Island, the biggest of 64 islands in a volcanic chain just off of the coast of Malaysia. The island is filled with armies of voracious biting ants, red giant flying squirrels, binturongs, massive monitor lizards, macaques, slow loris, and the Tioman walking catfish… oh, and 25 species of snakes including king cobras. Tioman is also notorious for insanely fierce thunderstorms and man-eating clouds of super mosquitoes. It should be a good time!!!
Our hope is that the climb will not only raise funds and awareness for Big City Mountaineers, but for the greater cause of connecting people to the outdoors. Climbing and a life spent outdoors, has transformed and improved my life immeasurably and I hope that our wild adventure in Malaysia can help raise awareness and create transformational opportunities for kids that desperately need them.
Every $250 to the B.C.M. sponsors a day of outdoor activities for five teens… Bennett and I will be documenting the adventure through photo/video/words so you can safely and vicariously enjoy the quest summit the Dragons Horn and to help keep kids from suffering wilderness deficit disorder!
Please follow our progress here at neverstopexploring.com, and if you feel the love, Please donate to B.C.M. in the name of our climb at http://www.summitforsomeone.org/main.php?page=4&climber=8058. The North Face is generously donating $4,000 in matching grants.
Thanks and stay tuned for video dispatches of what promises to be a Wild, Beautiful and Arduous Adventure.