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Saqib Bhatti

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Raja SAYS:
Friends, I have to apologiz…

I have to apologize for not sending you the pictures of the climb sooner. As you may already know, together we managed to raise over $45K for both the IRC and Mercy Corps Syria programs! That's quite a bit of money. Thank you all for the donations. Every bit made a difference. That amount gets several displaced families the food, education and employment support that can help them build a new life.

There's other great news: all 8 of the climbers successfully made it to the top of Mt. Rainier! On average, fewer than 50% of climbers make it to the top. Getting a whole team of 8 people to the top is rare, especially given that 7/8 had never done any real alpine climbing before. Rainier isn't exactly beginner-level. But we had the weather on our side. Shortly after we made it back down, the weather on the mountain turned pretty sour.

I had never done anything that physically demanding before. It took each of us many months of training. Desk jobs may be bad for the soul; they're definitely terrible on the body.

But as we woke up on the 3rd day at midnight and began the final stretch in the attempt to summit, we all had a feeling that we'd somehow all reach the top. It was dark, we were roped together in 3-person teams. The only light we had was from our headlamps (and you definitely keep your eyes on the ground below). Still, we moved along we all heard the steady, determined sounds of our crampons and ice axes cutting through the ice beneath our feet. Shortly after dawn, all four rope teams made it the top.

We were only able to stay up there for 45 minutes before the guides whisked us away (some ominous clouds were in the distance, and the more time spent at altitude, the more tired your body can get if you're not used to it). But it was a gorgeous sight.

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasures:

Thanks again to each of you for supporting the cause! Each of your contributions is hugely appreciated.

2 years ago
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Saqib Bhatti
Chicago, IL United States
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