By Cindi Schmalz (May 7, 2007)
UAlbany Students Climb for Others
UAlbany students Joseph Fazioli and Christopher Keefe spent part of their spring break climbing Mount Whitney in California – and helped raise money for inner-city youth in the process.
Fazioli, a junior from Troy, and Keefe, a senior from Glastonbury, Conn., participated in the Summit for Someone Program which raises money for Big City Mountaineers (BCM), a program that benefits at-risk inner-city youth. Each raised $3,500 in order to participate in the climb. The donations came from a variety of sources, including large donations from family and friends, Fazioli said.
Fazioli and Keefe ascended and descended the 14,497-feet-tall Mount Whitney in four days, April 4-7, with seven other climbers and three guides. The mountain is the highest in the lower 49 states. Most of the climb was fairly easy, with strenuous walking at times. The weather was "incredible," fairly warm at the bottom, but not particularly cold at the summit, Fazioli said. It was a standard climb with some snow and ice conditions, which did not adversely affect their climb. The final summit day was strenuous and more technical skills, like rope ascension, were used.
"Chris and I carried a German chocolate brownie up into the mountains as a surprise for everyone else. It was pretty good after the climb, and everybody loved it!" said Fazioli, adding that he is looking forward to climbing the mountain again, probably in a few years, by a technical big-wall route.
Fazioli picked up a brochure about the Summit for Someone Program while working with Keefe at Eastern Mountain Sports, a sponsor of the event. He submitted his name, and after receiving a climb bid, he encouraged Keefe to do it as well. As avid mountain climbers, they took this opportunity to support a great cause. Fazioli said, "I've always loved climbing, and I've always done work for charities, so I figured that it fit well." At UAlbany, Fazioli works in the Student Activities office as a community service coordinator.
While they did not actually climb with the teens, Fazioli said he is considering the possibility of doing volunteer work directly with the children associated with BCM in a couple of years. With plans to go to graduate school in the West, he will be closer to BCM and the mentoring program.
Editor's Note: Cindi
Schmalz, a UAlbany senior, is an intern in
the Office of Media and Marketing.