Redmond man to scale Mt. Rainier to raise money for nonprofit

A Redmond man will be scaling Mt. Rainier next week to raise money for the nonprofit Living Water Internation, but to raise the stakes on the venture, David Lee said he’s never summited a mountain before.

Lee told the Reporter he has no background or experience in mountaineering, but was inspired by meeting Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Mt. Everest.

“He just blew me away with his personality and his story,” Lee said.

He was particurlarly impressed with Whittaker’s philosophy of pushing boundaries and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone and accepting a certain amount of risk, Lee said.

“Go actively seek out discomfort, seek out adventure and then that’s kind of been his recipe for success for a life well lived,” Lee said.

So he decided to do just that and scale Mt. Rainier to raise mony for Living Water.

Living Water was established in 1990 to help communities around the world access clean water and has completed some 18,000 projects so far, the organization’s website said.

Lee got involved with the group a decade ago and went on a volunteer trip to El Salvador with the group. Lee described their efforts as efficient and effective and include drilling wells in areas in need around the world, including in Africa, Asia and Central America.

Since Lee decided to scale Mt. Rainier last year, he has been training intensly for the past nine months in preperation.

These routines range from pack training hikes, treadmilling and climbing up to 100 flights of stairs some days.

These training exercises are important to be able to scale a mountain like Mt. Rainier’s 14,411-foot volcanic summit.

Since it will be his first time summiting a mountain, Lee said he is a little nervous.

“There’s definitely some pre-climb anxiety,” he said.

High-altitute sickness in particular is unpredictable in how it affects people, as well as weather concerns.

But he said most of the time he’s able to block it out and concentrate on training and preparing.

Lee will be scaling the mountain from July 6-8 with a small group of climbers.

Since Mt. Rainier is one of the tallest mountains in North America, it is often used to train mountaineers for Mt. Everest climbs.

Potential dangers include crevasses, avalanches and unpredicatable weather.

The group is trying to raise $7,000 for Living Water International.

A donations page can be accessed at

Lee said that even if he doesn’t make it to the top, he will be happy he raised money for a good cause.

“Success is not solely based on getting to the top,” he said.