Sarasotan Summits For Goodwill

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BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY JUL 1, 2016

Step by step, the man ascends the stairs. Twelve flights. He reaches the top and turns to descend. He will do this six times, just as he’s done for weeks—72 flights of stairs a day, double or triple that on the weekend. “I’m going to be honest with you,” he says, “I absolutely hate it. It’s very boring and very repetitive.” But he keeps going, making his legs strong, because he’ll need them so—in less than a month, Nick Altier, account executive at Brown and Brown Insurance and Goodwill Ambassador, will be snowbound and summiting Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, and trying to raise nearly $5,000 dollars for his local Goodwill.

A Sarasota native, Altier describes his younger self as an “outdoorsy kid,” prone to what small-scale summits he could find in his backyard or on family trips to Georgia or North Carolina, but getting his first taste of rock-climbing with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota, which used to host open night on its four-sided rock wall. Once out from under his parent’s wing, Altier capped a couple Colorado 14ks in his time, but those were day trips, he says—fun jaunts for a picnic. Mont Blanc is something else. Mont Blanc is a three-day expedition with a professional guide and the expectation of hardship. They hopefully won’t need it, but the team will learn, among other things, how to rescue fallen climbers from an icy crevasse. As Altier puts it, “This is a real climb.”

First summited in 1786, Mont Blanc stands just under 4,809 meters (15,781 ft) above sea level, where snow and ice dominate the horizon and the air grows thin. Altier learns to use crampons and an ice-axe—equipment rarely needed in Colorado day-climbs—and insulates all of his gear, particularly his water supply, which could freeze mid-climb. He trains in an acclimation mask, restricting oxygen flow to simulate the deprivation he’ll feel at the summit. He downplays: “For the most part it’s a safe climb. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s not like jumping into Denali or Everest.”

But Altier climbs for more than bragging rights. As a Goodwill Ambassador, Altier took the opportunity to reach out to Goodwill Manasota and find a way to tie its mission to his challenge. In mutual support, the two created a donation page to raise money for the nonprofit with a goal of $4,810—one dollar for every meter Altier ascends. “It’s a great organization and they offer a lot more than people think,” says Altier, citing the group’s work with people with disabilities and assisting in job placement but particularly the White Glove Service, which supports the recently bereaved in sorting through their loved ones’ worldly effects. “If I can help Goodwill in any way, shape or form,” he says, “I’m happy to do whatever it takes.”

Leaving for France Jul. 18, Altier is scheduled to begin his ascent on the 21st or 22nd. View the Goodwill donation page at the link below.

Visit Goodwill's webpage for Nick Altier's climb here.

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