We recently checked in on George Clardy, the founding member of Climb for Real. Along with a group of amateur climbers, George will take on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania this November 11-20, to fundraise for Real Medicine’s work around the world. Sponsors, from individual to business, are invited to support George’s climb by donating at kilimanjaro.kintera.org The view from the top after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro will be even more beautiful if he knows he has your support!
RMF: George, how is Climb for Real coming along?
GC: Great. We now have the core climbing team established, but we still have openings for late comers. The team now consists of Garrett, Byrom, Ryan and myself. [George is referring to Garrett Cale Smith, an RMF Advisory Board member as well as his own son, Ryan Clardy!]
photo: Ryan and George Clardy hiking in Los Angeles
That means that with the guides, porters, cooks and others we should have about 20-25 people hiking up Mt Kilimanjaro (19,341′). Remember, this is a 7 night 8 day trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
RMF: You’re really thrown yourself into your training! How often are you training in Los Angeles these days in preparation to climb Kilimanjaro in November?
GC: I hike about 5-6 times a week now. Four times during the week I leave work and hike the Chumash Trail up to Mugu Peak (a steep climb to 1250′) which is the height of the Empire State Building or hike up 1000′ on the Ray Miller Trail (2.7 miles each way). Both are in the Santa Monica Mountains. On the weekends I do longer hikes of 6-8 miles. Last Saturday was my first hike with my son Ryan. We did the Chumash Trail, out into the La Jolla Valley, around the backside of Mugu Peak, a climb to the top and back down. He did great, but still had that look of "You do this how often?!" We are amazed to find trails like this in our own backyard.
photo: George Clardy and Ryan Clardy hiking Chumash Trail, Los Angeles
RMF: What’s your favorite hike around Los Angeles right now?
GC: Either Runyon Canyon in Hollywood or Franklin Canyon in Beverly Hills. Runyon is a harder hike and a good workout with great views of LA. If you remember the opening of the Andy Griffith Show from years back you will recognize the pond in Franklin Canyon. People are surprised to found out it is Beverly Hills, not North Carolina.
RMF: George, have you ever done anything like Climb for Real before? Meaning this sort of amazing athletic adventure?
GC: Yes, in 1995 I ran in the first marathon in Antarctica. It was a wonderful adventure with some of the most interesting people I have ever met. We started with 133 runners/adventures from around the world. At the start line only 105 decided to take that first step. Among those about 80 finished. Yes, I finished in 7 hours and 17 minutes, which was nearly double my normal marathon time. Again, it was the dreaming, researching, planning, training, the trip and crossing the finish line. Every stage was fun and exciting.
I also have a friend who is currently hiking across northern Spain on the Way of St. James which is a 500 mile pilgrimage from France to the city of Santiago de Compostela. Last year over 192,000 people did the hike so if you are looking for an adventure and feel like hiking for about six weeks, Google it and have fun.
Or join us! There are still spaces to join us for the Mount Kilimanjaro climb this November 2013.
RMF: You joined the RMF Advisory Board recently – what do you hope to bring to the Board and what are your shared goals for RMF’s future?
GC: Each of us have skills we have or developed over the years. I have traveled extensively overseas to every continent including Antarctica and have sailed on all the major oceans of the world. I have always found wonderful, interesting people in every town, city or corner of every country. Most of my time has been in planning and executing projects worldwide. RMF provides an excellent opportunity for me to apply my skill sets to help others throughout the world. On the Board I have noticed that each of us have areas of interest. Mine are Vietnam and Armenia, but there is no place on this planet that I wouldn’t go. I am hoping that the Climb for Real fundraising campaign will increase awareness of the great work of the Real Medicine Foundation and raise funds to continue the necessary work worldwide.
RMF: Any final notes on the trek up Mt Kilimanjaro?
GC: From a personal sense I can’t believe where I have come since March of this year. In March I huffed and puffed up the stairs at the local high school and today I lead 30 year olds up steep climbs like Chumash. It is great to see the Team come together and over the next month we will start to do some higher altitude hiking such as Mt Baldy. This will take us over the 10,000′ elevation. We are also enjoying researching and purchasing the necessary hiking gear. Ryan and I just bought Vasques hiking boots, Black Diamond trekking poles and our 30-32 liter backpacks. We are also getting great advice on technologies which will allow us to photo, video and provide daily information to the blog so others can follow the Climb for Real to the early morning summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest free standing mountain in the world.
To learn more about Climb for Real, please visit kilimanjaro.kintera.org for the full scoop!
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