In late November, I met Justin Leung. We became friends. In mid-December, Justin told me about this program called Climbing for Kids (CFK) which is organized by Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT) as a program that raises money for kids in the bay area to explore the wilderness in a safe and controlled way.

BAWT’s Mission:

BAWT exists as a vital, comprehensive and ongoing source of support to agencies that lead youth wilderness trips. We believe that urban youth, once exposed to wilderness, have a broadened sense of themselves, each other, and the world around them. BAWT extends it services to the eight counties of the San Francisco Bay Area. We hope other organizations will take this vision to the rest of the country and the larger world.

BAWT’s primary strategy for achieving its mission is to provide Bay Area youth agency staff with wilderness leadership training and outdoor equipment so that they, along with the youth they serve, may explore the power and beauty of California’s wilderness.

As a non profit and community betterment agency, they raise money through donations but there had to be a better way to help fund this terrific operation in a new and exciting way. A few years ago, the BAWT team organized something called “Climbing for Kids” which aims to help fund the wilderness training.

From their website:

Climbing for Kids is a fundraising event that supports Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT), a non-profit organization that gets at-risk and underprivileged youth outdoors. For every $1,000 you raise, an average of 17 kids will get outside on trips with experienced adults using the best gear in the outdoor industry. In other words, by joining Climbing for Kids you’ll be effecting the lives of over 50 kids.

Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT) is a project of the Earth Island Institute a 501(c)(3) corporation founded by environmental activist and climber David Brower. Brower’s legacy as a climber with hundreds of first ascents on High Sierra peaks is only overshadowed by his legacy as a tireless champion of the environment. Read more about BAWT, Brower, and Earth Island Institute.

Justin and I signed up for CFK in the middle of December and began taking part in practice hikes and training to climb Mount Shasta in June. Since CFK is a way to raise money for the year round efforts of BAWT, each climber has to raise money, $4500 to be exact.

Where does the $4,500 go?

Every dollar of the money donated will go to the organization (BAWT). This money is used to work with outreach services in the bay area to train mentors who will, in turn, lead groups of kids on hikes or full on weekend camping trips. Most of the kids that enter in these have never been camping before or spent more than a few hours in the woods. The video below explains how Climbing For Kids benefits bay area kids.

This video goes a tiny bit further in explaining how BAWT helps get kids outdoors:

This is a training climb of bay area park, Mount Diablo (one of the many training hikes we go on leading up to the big climb)

This is a short video made for the June 2009 climbing of Mount Shasta:

To join the program, I put down $500 in my own money and pledged to raise the entire $4,500 by May. I’m legally bound to the full amount by that date. Yes, that’s a bit scary but I have complete confidence in my friends and family to help me recoup those costs and their support will help me climb the mountain and achieve an altitude very few people have ever reached without being in an airplane.

My training has not been easy. I started on December 1st and can now do 10+ mile hikes without any fatigue. I’ve also dropped 35 pounds with 30 to go and I’ve only been training for 60 days. I have 90 days to raise the $4,500 and then all that’s left is the climb and it’s not going to be easy.

About the Climb:

Mount Shasta (Úytaahkoo in Karuk or “White Mountain”) is located in Siskiyou County and at 14,179 feet (4,322 m)[1] is the second highest peak in the Cascades and the fifth highest in California. Mount Shasta has an estimated volume of 85 cubic miles (350 km3) which makes it the most voluminous stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc.[5][6]

I’ll be climbing the mountain with my friend Justin Leung and we’ve been training hard to make this a reality. It takes place over 5 days and the last 3K feet of the climb is the most challenging due to the limited oxygen in the air.


I can’t do this without your help & support. Our big donors will be receiving support in the form of thank yous on our blog and businesses will get ad placement on the blog and special t-shirts that we’re making for the training hikes and climb in June.

You can help me by donating here:

It’s completely tax-deductible and will be going to a great cause!

Follow our Progress:

Photos of The Group

Justin and I are blogging about our training & practice climbs on a blog that we setup specifically for the climb. Follow along here: