Please Pay For My CLimbing Trip

11:59 a.m. on June 26, 2012 (EDT)
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I just got hit up to donate to someone's climbing trip to raise awareness for clean drinking water in Africa. Maybe we have covered this.  Is it me or are there a TON  of people trying to raise money to go on an expedition to "raise awareness" for an issue or advocacy group.  To me it looks a lot like someone just trying to get other people to fund their adventure.   

It seems to go like this:

-I want to climb Everest/K2/Annapurna/Etc.

-I can't afford it

-I offer to "raise awareness" for the plight of German Americans who were interned in camps in the USA during WWII (or whatever issue) by climbing said moutain. 

-You fund my trip

-I trek to basecamp to acclimate, summit, and take my picture on the summit with the banner of the issue I am raising awareness for. 

-Somehow this helps the issue.

Does this seem a little inauthentic to anyone else?


Raising Awareness: How to look like you are helping without really doing anything.




12:11 p.m. on June 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Jeff, you didn't receive that through TS did ya? Just want to make sure there is no "soliciting" going on behind the scenes...

12:42 p.m. on June 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Ive often had the same thoughts and thats why when I try to start raising money for my big expedition road trip I will have legitimate academic/ social goals to be accomplished. Ideally I would love to start doing citizen science work and getting grants as opposed to donations. I have a few friends of mine who recently spent a few months in Jamaica studying birds for a graduate thesis. That is the kind of stuff you have to do to get real funding. Just tagging you name to some cause and hoping people support it is kinda an abuse of the system that De-legitimitises (is that even a word!?!?!) other peoples genuine efforts.


2:11 p.m. on June 26, 2012 (EDT)
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I would think the fund raising for the trip would be "authentic" if a significant part of the proceeds were actually going to help some worthy cause.  And by "helping" I don't mean taking a picture of a banner on the summit.  I mean actually directing the funds to some group in need.

2:24 p.m. on June 26, 2012 (EDT)
Bill S
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One way to judge legitimacy is to look at how the donation is to be made. Is it a 501c3 organization? Is this a well known organization or is the individual asking for the money yo be sent to them personally ( in Nigeria, perchance?).

I participate in environmental expeditions myself. The American Alpine Club Is the sponsor, acting as the overseer of the expeditions. All participants have to contribute a significant amount plus pay their own air fare and other transportation costs and meals, the participants are vetted as having the applicable background and experience. When you contribute to a particular expedition, it goes to the AAC, which sends you the proper IRS form acknowledging the contribution. The actual mechanism is to go to the AAC website or contact their HQ for the forms. The AAC in turn has a committee which examines all applications before sponsoring any climbing expedition.

This is typical of legitimate organizations. So do your own vetting of who the solicitation is from?

Unfortunately, there is an increasing number of both genuinely worthy causes and not so worthy causes, including outright scams. I get calls every day for "THE" cancer society. So is this the American Cancer Society or one the many Breast Cancer or Prostate Cancer or ... Society? We have had at least a dozen rides and walks against cancer around th SFBay area in the past month or two. Plus even though my town has an ordinance restricting door to door solicitations, we still get them. And the grocery checkout stand asks if I want to make a donation today, and the guy standing outside the door is asking for donations to the lost children fund.

I do not want to appear indifferent, but you have to check the credentials carefully and choose.

2:31 p.m. on June 26, 2012 (EDT)
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If the cost of doing Everest is in the $35-50k range, (or for Kilimanjaro or Denali, or whichever) I can see why people want to get some help with it.

And if you have a business you want to promote, I can see sponsoring someone to use your gear and sending back a photo of them bagging the peak with your banner. That's just good marketing. Even if the product isn't directly related to mountaineering, the photo at least says that the kind of people who climb mountains are the kind of people who drink Pepsi or use Preparation H.

And let's face it. Very few people can afford to bag all Seven Summits without someone paying their way! People like Will Gadd or Ueli Steck need someone to cover the costs of their lifestyle, but most of us don't have those qualifications.

But there is something fraudulent about attaching 'A Cause' to an adventure that is really done just for the thrill of it, for the ego boost of saying you've done the highest (or hardest, or most dangerous) peak in the world. If you had the extra money to throw around, wouldn't you be doing it anyway, whether it was 'for a cause' or not? 

Unfortunately, most of the charities who let their names be used by the climbers so they can raise money are in such desperate need of funds that they have to take anything they can get. Even if that means they only get whatever's left over after expenses.

I guess it comes down to the ethics of the climber, and the organization.

4:56 p.m. on June 26, 2012 (EDT)
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peter - the current cost of denali with a reputable guiding company is about $6,000-$7,000. Doing alone if you have the experience and the equipment would like only run you 2-3 grand.

the main difference being location: somewhat domestic. Traveling to any Himalayan mountains, you're looking at steep fees charged by the countries. They are third world countries who take advantage of the climbing addiction by charging as much as $30,000 for a permit for just a few people, with additional thousands of dollars charged for anyone on your team above the allowed number.

Factor in taking months off from work, needing TONS of gear and food, and it's easy to see why the price gets so jacked.

I've climbed for a cause before, but the money I raised went directly to children in inner cities who needed the help, not to me to buy me that new down coat I want for my trip.

5:24 p.m. on June 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Rick, it wasn't anyone from TS thank goodness. 

I wonder if anyone ever solicits several worthy causes and promises each organization to unfurl each of their banners on the peak of Mt. Awesome or wherever and pose for a pic?  Can you imagine the frustrated sherpa taking each picture as the climber pulls half a dozen banners from inside his parka at the summit, "Ok, just three more banners then we can go."

9:36 a.m. on June 27, 2012 (EDT)
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iClimb said:

peter - the current cost of Denali with a reputable guiding company is about $6,000-$7,000.

Sorry. I should have picked a different peak for my examples, but you get the idea. Even then, people will still tie themselves to a cause as a way to gather more funds.

One notable exception, though: I was guiding a legally-blind lady last fall, and she told me about a group of blind teenagers who'd hiked up Kilimanjaro, just to show they could do it! Because it would be a direct subsidy, I could see chipping in a few bucks for a reason like that.

Meaning no disrespect, iClimb - there are obviously two sides to this issue - but did all the extra money you raised go to the charity, or did you use some of it to help cover your costs? That's not a put-down. If you needed the cash to do it, and your climb netted some extra money that the charity wouldn't have got otherwise, it can be justified. 

That being said, I was surprised to find out how much of the money raised at the annual breast cancer run went to the commercial company that organized it, and how little actually went to research.

July 11, 2020
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