STILLWATER - Lifelong outdoor enthusiasts Ryan Wichelns, 18, and Gabe Messercola, 17, both of Stillwater, New York, are planning a two-pronged mission for this coming summer. Dubbed "Adirondack Traverse 2013", they will be completing a traverse the Adirondack park, south to north, under their own power before heading west to climb Washington's Mount Rainier, all the while raising awareness and money for the Colorado-based charity, Big City Mountaineers through their fundraising program, Summit For Someone.
Founded in 1989, Big City Mountaineers is a non-profit organization that instills critical life skills in under-served urban youth through transformative wilderness mentoring expeditions. BCM partners with a vibrant network of youth agencies and supportive adult mentors to provide teens the opportunity to experience the beauty and challenges of the wilderness. Young people return home inspired to choose a brighter future - a future that embraces education, purpose and self-worth while rejecting delinquency, violence and drugs.
Nearly Adirondack 46-ers, Ryan and Gabe have been hiking and climbing for the last five years throughout the Adirondacks, Catskills, White Mountains and Maine. This trip will signify their advancement into mountaineering while, they hope, allowing less fortunate teens to have the same opportunities they have had in the peaks.
Over the course of 21 days, beginning on June 8, Ryan and Gabe will be hiking, biking and paddling from "Blue Line to blue line" along a trail they developed, completely bisecting the Adirondack Park. In early August, just a few weeks after returning home, they will head west to climb America's most glaciated volcanic peak, Mount Rainier (elevation 14,411 feet) under the direction of guides from Rainier Mountaineering Inc., propelling themselves into futures in high-altitude mountaineering
However, before any of this is possible, they require the support of generous donors and sponsors to both meet their pledged $8,000 to Big City Mountaineers as well as to help support the additional costs of the expedition. Anyone interested in helping can visit www.adirondacktraverse.org for more information or to donate, purchase raffle tickets and check their progress.