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Fitness center offers ‘Mt. Everest challenge’

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- ​Each year, hundreds of climbing enthusiasts attempt to scale the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest, that sits at 29,029 feet.

Team Schriever members now have the opportunity to see if they possess the physical ability to scale that height—minus the cost and physical danger. And a little closer to home

The fitness center is offering a “Mt. Everest challenge,” similar in design to the annual Lazyman Triathlon. Members will utilize the Jacob’s Ladder apparatus to “climb” 29,029 feet and have 31 days to reach their goal.

“I thought about trying to do a mile in one hour,” said Seth Cannello, Schriever Fitness Center director. “It was too harsh. I thought, ‘What else would be good to climb?’”

Cannello first looked at Pike’s Peak as a possible simulation, but quickly decided it wouldn’t pose enough of a challenge.

“Everest was my next thought,” he said.

Given his trials with attempting the mile, Cannello knew he needed to find a way to give people an attainable, but demanding, task.

“I decided I could make it like the Lazyman and give people a month to finish,” Cannello said.

Precise numbers vary, but more than 250 people died attempting to summit Everest. The time and cost associated with summiting the mountain may also deter people from attempting the feat.

“An Everest climb requires a two-month commitment to successfully complete and costs upward of $60,000,” according to GrindTV’s Kraig Becker.

Permits alone cost either $11,000 in Nepal or $7,000 in Tibet. Add gear, guides, food and travel and the cost quickly escalates. Challenge participants will essentially trade a $65,000 view for a free attempt at pushing their bodies through a 29,000-plus foot climb.

Initially, Cannello was looking for a way to keep people engaged with their fitness goals beyond January.

“In January, people are focused,” he said. “The Lazyman pushes them through February and they have a feeling of accomplishment when they finish. I wanted to keep the ball rolling.”

The original plan was to use March as the “Mt. Everest challenge” month. Cannello decided it might be more productive to offer it throughout the year and give people 31 days to finish, regardless of when they start.

Participants need to track their distances as they climb.

“Just take a picture of the display screen after your workout showing your distance,” Cannello said. “At the end of the (31 days), show me your totals.”

The other component to the challenge is the apparatus. The Jacob’s Ladder is a treadmill climber, but it uses wooden ladder rungs and is non-motorized. Users determine the climbing pace, the faster they go, the faster the rungs go. The machine also has side rails users can grasp for a lower-body only workout.

“Participants must use the ladder rungs, not the side rails, and adjust the belt to your specific height,” Cannello said.

A dozen members have already registered for the event.

For more information, or to register, contact Cannello at 567-6658.
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