Donate to Climb for the Cure!


Help me raise money for diabetes research! For every foot of Mount Rainier, donate one-thousandth of a cent! ($14.41). To donate, click on the link above or send me an email at After expedition costs, all funds will be allocated to the American Diabetes Association. If you represent a private or a public sponsor, or if you are also wishing to make a donation, send me an email with the subject line SPONSORSHIP. Your help will get me to the top of Mt Rainier! Thank you, and wish me luck with my journey!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Week 1: Highs and Lows, and Not Just With My Blood Sugar

Yesterday marked the completion of my first week of training and conditioning for Rainier, and although it was a great start, there is much progress to be made.

I have been training at Earth Treks Climbing to work my upper body and core (check out my action shot!), and I've also incorporated more weight into my backpacking routine.

On Day 1, I started at 17 lbs. for 30 minutes, and that felt great. So I increased my weight to 45 lbs., and trained for an hour at 15 grade on the treadmill. While challenging, it was certainly do-able. I felt great about this arrangement, but I've come to realize that I need to work in smaller increments, as I hurt my left knee slightly. After a couple of days with a knee brace, I feel fine, but I've learned my lesson about overdoing it.

I learned the same lesson over again with climbing, as I'm trying to fit as much rock climbing into a 15-day period as is humanly possible. After buying a package deal with unlimited climbing for 15 days, I've climbed over ten intermediate routes, become belay-certified, and thoroughly exhausted my upper body. I'm not strong at all, but I have a wide vocabulary of movements for a beginner. I credit that to a history of dancing, as improvisation skills have contributed to my inventive climbing technique. In a week, however, I will be taking a class on movements, so I expect to benefit greatly from that. Hopefully, I will have a very solid foundation as a climber by the end of my 15-day stint. I intend to continue rock climbing throughout my 5-month training schedule, as rock climbing skills will be enormously helpful in mountaineering.

To ascend to the top of a rock wall is an extraordinary feeling of achievement, especially when the ascent was hard-fought. Hanging four stories up, with a single rope for support, can be nerve-wracking! An incredible amount of blind trust is required in the moment when it is time to be lowered, as your hands have to leave the supportive wall and hold on to the taut rope. Looking down four stories is frightening, but knowing that they were four stories that you strove to climb is extraordinary.

On the other hand, literally, I took a huge chunk out of a finger and I'm developing serious climber's callouses, which is good. Hurts, though!

Throughout this week, I've been eyeing my blood sugar even more closely than usual. My blood sugar has been interesting, to say the least. From nighttime highs that keep me up to nighttime lows that wake me up, I have been struggling to maintain a shred of normalcy. It seems that with increased activity, my blood sugar stays closer to or on target, and my insulin sensitivity increases. However, with increased physical activity comes increased caloric requirements, and satisfying those is an experiment yet to be resolved. If I eat a larger meal than usual, I will take insulin according to my longtime insulin-to-carb ratio* and expect it to be covered, no problema. However, my ratio seems to change on the heels of strenuous activity, but I'm not totally sure how much of a change occurs. If I give myself a couple more units than is necessary, I might experience a low! If I give myself the normal amount, I might experience a high. Sometimes it feels as if I am simply flying by the seat of my pants.

I am investigating my insurance coverage for continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGMS), to provide me with more peace of mind while being so active, but I imagine that it will be a couple of weeks before I have a clear idea of how my insulin delivery and blood sugar monitoring will change. I can only hope that it will, and for the better. Currently, I am checking out the Minimed Paradigm system and the Dexcom Seven System which are both pretty attractive-looking getups. (The DexCom 7 System and Minimed Paradigm are featured in the pic).

To be honest, my dream rig is the Animas 2020 and the Dex 7 System. Admittedly, this is Will Cross's setup, but you can see the practicality here, too, right? "Cross" your fingers for me:)

Lastly, I made the first payment for my expedition today. My nonrefundable deposit was delivered, and I have reached a new level of commitment to my program. My project to summit Mt Rainier, raise money for diabetes research, and send a clear message to diabetics that you can conquer your own mountains, has quickly become my main focus every waking moment.

I hope you continue to read and I look forward to your reader emails.

Until Week 2, happy blood sugars!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 3 and Will Cross

Today was my third day of my intensive training schedule. On day one, I began with 15 minutes of warmup, followed by 30 minutes of 100% incline on a treadmill with a 20-lb. pack, and ending with 15 minutes of cool-down.

For today, I took an introductory rock climbing class at the world-class rock gym Earth Treks with the masterful instructor Ryan (you're the man!). I learned the basics of belaying and top-roping, such as tying in, anchoring, and all that good stuff. I now have a 15-foot rope to practice my knots on, and I will be taking the belay test very shortly to qualify as a belayer. Also, for the next 15 days, I will be focusing my training on rock climbing to jump-start my upper body's development, as that is my weak spot. After Day 1's training, I felt I could do another 30 minutes with a pack that was twice as heavy. Clearly, my legs are strong, but my arms are in dire need of attention.

And attention they will get, because typing is a bit of a chore for me presently. I am a little disappointed in my performance climbing today, because I was hoping to have more endurance. My grip died first, then my wrists and forearms, and lastly my reserve. Here, I was immensely helped along by the encouragement of my climbing partner (my brother) and the direction of my awesome instructor Ryan.

Day 3 total: two 5.6 climbs, not bad.
Week so far: 30 minutes, 100% treadmill incline, 20-lb. pack

Off to a great start! But I have a LOT of work to do. As I like to say, I am going to climb many mountains before I even set foot on one. I wouldn't have it any other way! I look forward to kicking my own butt, and having you come after me as well. Feel free to comment if you have any suggestions for my training plan, and I will be happy to take your ideas into consideration. I'm going to do whatever it takes to prepare myself for Rainier.

On another note, I had the incredible honor and pleasure of speaking with world-class mountaineer Will Cross on the phone today. I wrote him and asked him a lot of questions about blood sugar and altitude, sponsorship and even insulin pumps. He gave me a call and inspired me a great deal. It's so validating to hear a true pro tell you that you can do it! He is on the Animas 2020, which I have all but decided to use myself. I've contacted Animas, and I should be hearing about that shortly. Will said it was very durable, and the Animas customer service is rock-solid. Sounds good to me!

Good news with the pump, in general, though! My insurance company is going to cover me 100%. No out of pocket expenses! I couldn't be more stoked to be with an insurance company. It is almost too good to be true. I've spent one and a half years wishing I could be on the pump, and I've been through about 4 different insurance companies. Finally, the Heaven-sent news I needed to hear!

As for my blood sugar so far - I checked before and after my day 1 exercise, and also before I started climbing today and after I came down. The only notable issue was that my sugar was 89 before my class today, so I had a granola bar (30g carbs) and I was at 98 two climbs later! Obviously, my body used up a lot of energy and tore into that snack. This helps me gauge pre-climbing snacking in the future. I also made sure to stay very hydrated.

After all is said and done, I'm doing pretty well for my third day. I rewarded myself with a junior whopper this evening:) I'm pretty darn proud, but I'm going to work even harder next time. Which will be tomorrow. Wish me luck on my belay test!

Mt Rainier Prep

I am a type 1 diabetic female, and I've had diabetes for a year and a half. This year, for my 20th birthday, I plan to climb Mt Rainier in Washington State. Weather and mountain permitting, I will summit as planned on my birthday, and I will also celebrate my 2-year anniversary with diabetes two days prior on the ascent.

I am climbing the mountain to prove that a female type 1 diabetic can do anything without the limitations of having diabetes - including climb Mt Rainier!

Here, I will be updating my blog with posts detailing the trials and tribulations of my physical conditioning as I train for the trek, and the specifics on my fundraising goals.

I am actively and aggressively pursuing sponsorship, as I am a full-time student and need all the financial help I can get to finance my expedition. Beyond that, I am hoping to raise a lot of money for diabetes research. It is too early to set a goal, but I am hoping for a minimum of $1,000.

If I am able to successfully become the first female type 1 diabetic to summit the mountain, I will test my blood sugar at the peak for the sake of ritual. This will be the highest point a female type 1 diabetic has ever tested her blood sugar in the continental United States! (Excluding airplanes and magical levitation).

If you are interested in sponsorship or donation, please send me an email at and send me your information.

I look forward to sharing my journey with you!