My name is James McGuffey. I am a 41 year old father of six wonderful children and loving husband to my wife, Carleen. We currently live in a small, beautiful community north of Colorado
Springs called Monument. We moved here three years ago to start a business in what I like to call "God’s Country". This move has inspired me to become an outdoorsman and mountaineer who climbs 14ers as a hobby. We absolutely love it here.
During the ﬁrst few months of being in Colorado, we were delighted to learn that we would be expecting our sixth child, a boy. We would now have five boys and one girl. Imagine our excitement! That excitement began to fade once my wife had some test results come back indicating that she had contracted Hepatitis C. After some careful research to discover the cause, we arrived at a blood transfusion Carleen had had back in 1987. This was before blood was screened for Hepatitis C. That lack of screening proved fateful. My wife had been living with this disease for over 26 years.
Carleen continued on with the pregnancy and on November 29, 2011 our sixth son, Kyle was born. Six weeks after Kyle’s birth, Carleen's doctor recommended that she have a liver biopsy done. It was a short outpatient procedure and we were curious to see the results after her having had Hepatitis C for so many years. Also, we would soon need to discuss treatment methods and things we could do to put this all behind us. So, we scheduled the procedure.
The biopsy, normally a simple outpatient deal, turned into a nightmare.
Carleen was in pain from the moment the doctor had finished. She was sent to the ER, then home, and finally back to the ER before it was discovered that the doctor had hit an artery while performing the biopsy. My wife was slowly bleeding to death.
A surgeon was called to discuss our options with us, but the news was grim. We were informed that surgery to correct the issue would likely result in death. Of course, we were devastated. The
doctors told us that they would do angioplasty to try and stop it. Carleen ended up spending several weeks in ICU before being released, only to discover within days that she was still bleeding internally. This was only the beginning.
Because of the Hepatitis C, and the botched biopsy, the last few years have been filled with countless hospital trips and doctor visits. These events have been traumatizing to my wife and she has suffered tremendously. Each time we left the hospital, we had no way of knowing if the bleeding had stopped for sure. Also, Carleen’s condition and frequent medical needs severely hindered her ability to care for and bond with our newborn son. Out of sheer necessity, and love for my family, I had to step up and be Mr. Mom. This experience has been filled with pain, fear,and uncertainty for my family and I.
Carleen has yet to have treatment due to all the complications that have occurred. However, with the new drugs and treatments coming out in the next few years we are looking forward to getting her healed!
Recently, I have been thinking of climbing Mount Rainier. I’ve had it on my heart for a while to climb for someone other than myself. One day, it occurred to me that there is not nearly enough media exposure for Hepatitis. There is so much coverage and awareness for other diseases, but not for the one that hits so close to home for me and my family. It really gets overlooked. I suddenly realized that I had a purpose for the climb. I would climb for Carleen! Through the American Liver Foundation, I have decided to raise funds to help families become more aware of Hepatitis C and Liver Disease. I have already begun my training and plan to climb Mount Rainier this June. This is my way of showing my wife that I truly do care, love, and support her. Please help us in this endeavor. All funds go directly to the American Liver Foundation. Help Us make a Difference!
The Mountain we have chosen in honor of my wife is called Mt Rainier. Here are some details about the mountain.
Mount Rainier is a massive stratovolcano located 54 miles southeast of Seattle in the state of Washington, United States. It is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States and the Cascade Volcanic Arc, with a summit elevation of 14,411 ft (4,392 m). Mt. Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, and it is on the Decade Volcano list. Because of its large amount of glacial ice, Mt. Rainier could potentially produce massive lahars that would threaten the whole Puyallup River valley.
Mount Rainier is the highest mountain in Washington and the Cascade Range. Mount Rainier has a topographic prominence of 13,211 ft (4,027 m), greater than K2, the world's second-tallest mountain, at 13,189 ft (4,020 m). On clear days it dominates the southeastern horizon in most of the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area to such an extent that locals sometimes refer to it simply as "the Mountain." On days of exceptional clarity, it can also be seen from as far away as Portland, Oregon and Victoria, British Columbia.
With 26 major glaciers and 36 sq mi of permanent snowfields and glaciers,Mount Rainier is the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states. The summit is topped by two volcanic craters, each more than 1,000 ft in diameter, with the larger east crater overlapping the west crater. Geothermal heat from the volcano keeps areas of both crater rims free of snow and ice, and has formed the world's largest volcanic glacier cave network within the ice-filled craters, with nearly 2 mi of passages. A small crater lake about 130 by 30 ft in size and 16 ft deep, the highest in North America with a surface elevation of 14,203 ft occupies the lowest portion of the west crater below more than 100 ft of ice and is accessible only via the caves.
Mountain climbing on Mount Rainier is difficult, involving traversing the largest glaciers in the U.S. south of Alaska. Most climbers require two to three days to reach the summit. Climbing teams demand experience in glacier travel, self-rescue, and wilderness travel. About 8,000 to 13,000 people attempt the climb each year, about 90% via routes from Camp Muir on the southeast flank. Most of the rest ascend Emmons Glacier via Camp Schurman on the northeast. About half of the attempts are successful, with weather and conditioning being the most common reasons for failure. All climbers who plan to climb above high camps, Camp Muir and Camp Schurman, are required by law to purchase a Mount Rainier Climbing Pass and register for their climb. Additionally, solo climbers must fill out a solo climbing request form and receive written permission from the Superintendent before attempting to climb.
Kaleb and I are being Guided by RMI Expeditions out of Ashford Washington.
With 40-plus years of guiding experience, RMI is the leading guide service on Mt. Rainier. I have heard nothing but good things about them. By the way they are not me anything for saying this.
I am also wanting to give people that don't have any idea about mountain climbing a little bit of incite about how difficult it can be. Here is what they say about how fit you must be.
"Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.
Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.
For this 4-day Summit Climb, you are preparing for:
Hiking with a 35-45 lb load
Steep climbing and glacier travel with a 20-25 lb load
A 10-14+ hour summit day
Mountaineering techniques which require core strength and flexibility"
So we BETTER be ready! We are training now and excited about this challenge.
Links For Our Project