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REDgraphx president, Terry Sandee and his wife Stacy raise $6800 for Big City Mountaineers! August 14th, the couple joined several others in an attempt to reach the summit of the Grand Teton near Jackson, WY, one of the nations most spectacular peaks while raising money for Big City Mountaineers (BCM), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, that provides recreational mentoring program for at-risk teens.
Many things were learned through this process and even though we did not have the opportunity to meet or work directly with the teens it has been very rewarding to hear how great this program is for these kids. After speaking with a few of the program directors that facilitate Big City Mountaineer programs we have learned that many of these kids come into the program without any understanding of what it feels like to accomplish something beyond a high score in a video game. The program directors raved about this program and loved utilizing BCM in their organizations. Here are a few quotes from a few of the kids...
"Today was the best day of my life, because I discovered another part of myself…if I trust I can do something, I can do anything." Aide

"I'll always remember this trip when I want to give up…I'm not giving up!"- Robin

"You guys are like the big brothers I never had."- Keniard
Our goal of "Summiting" The Grand Teton was a little less successful. We reached Jackson Hole Mountain Guides base camp at 11,000 feet but on the way up Stacy had a few feet/ shoe issues as well as Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS) which included problems breathing, dizziness and a pretty bad headache. AMS can affect anyone and seems to be pretty random since we met a lifelong residence of Jackson, WY that had similar issues. Stacy made the difficult but right decision to head back down the next morning after some of the symptoms remained.
Terry then spent that second day at base camp practicing climbing techniques with the rest of our SFS team. This included simple bouldering maneuvers to a couple of technical pitches that had some pretty incredible exposure followed by a 180 foot rappel. Fortunately, the clouds and snow rumors never came to fruition and we had tremendous weather. We started our journey to the summit of The Grand at 3 am on the third day. AMS hit another one of our team members that morning, and he headed down without summiting. So three of us and one of the guides continued up to the Summit which we made by 9:30 am. After spending a half hour enjoying the views from the top we made our way back down to the parking lot by 5:30 to enjoy a few cold beverages to celebrate.
It was truly a great experience to climb with a great group of people that shared the same goal. Stacy and I really appreciate the generosity of all of the donors that helped us Summit for Someone.
To see a gallery of images from our climb: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30021999@N02/sets/