“Conquering the Mountain,” New Era, Apr. 2013, 44
Climbing trees is one of those childhood joys that often sticks with you even as you grow older. Of course, not many people take it to the same heights as Hunter S., a 17-year-old young man from Washington, USA.
Several years ago, Hunter’s father showed him a video on climbing Mount Everest. Instantly, Hunter knew he wanted to become a mountaineer. For training, he began running every day and scaling a massive pine tree in his backyard with climber’s equipment.
He started climbing smaller peaks with some peers, and then he moved on to higher ones with his dad and brother. Soon, climbing Mount Rainier became his goal. At over 14,000 feet (4,267 meters), this peak requires some serious training. While conditioning for the attempt, however, Hunter found an even bigger problem to tackle.
A local baby named Casen was born with a rare genetic disorder that has no known cure. Hunter knew Casen’s family needed all the help they could get to provide medical treatments. He decided to make his climb a fund-raising effort. “Climb for Casen” was born. “I felt the Spirit confirm that this is what I’m supposed to do,” says Hunter.
Not only did he successfully summit Mount Rainier after two long days of climbing with an accomplished team, but he raised $13,000 (well beyond his goal of $10,000) for Casen’s medical treatments. The public certainly rallied, donating to the fund-raiser.
Hunter compares mountaineering to living the gospel. “I couldn’t just climb Mount Rainier without doing any training,” Hunter says. “As with faith, I had to exercise, get the proper training, and do the right things. With the gospel, we can’t just say that we want a closer relationship with Christ. We need to actually keep the commandments.”