By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Kyle Bingham climbed Mount St. Helens when he was 8 years old. When he was 28 he climbed Kilimanjaro in Africa.
Now he has his eyes on Mount Everest, and a lot more.
Bingham, of Camano Island, plans to climb Everest and four other major peaks. For each foot of elevation, he’ll raise a dollar for the Children’s Cancer Association, a Portland-based group that supports young cancer patients and their families.
Bingham’s goal is to summit Mount Rainier, Mount Denali in Alaska, Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, and Mount Cho Oyu and Mount Everest, both on the border of China and Nepal. Together, that’s 110,000 feet.
Bingham grew up in Marysville. He spent a lot of time at his family’s cabin near Mount Pilchuck. He grew up hiking and camping.
In 2010, he had a conversation with his father about doing something big with one’s life. His father had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and Bingham was inspired to do the same. As they talked, though, Bingham wondered what was the difference between doing that and climbing Everest.
“I have the mindset that if you’re going to do something, go big,” he said. So, he started planning to stand on Everest and do something extraordinary.
In 2012 Bingham climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. He said it was one of the most incredible moments of his life. He climbed the peak with the Cancer Climber Association, based in Colorado.
“Originally, my climbing was for myself. Then climbing with cancer survivors really inspired me,” he said. “I thought this climbing could be about more than me. It could be a way to help others learn.”
He lost two grandparents to cancer and his mother had skin cancer. Bingham has a one-year-old son. As a parent, he said, that’s part of the reason he chose the charity he did.
His fundraising will have two goals. First, he’ll need to raise money for the climbs, which he predicts will be about $98,000. He has gear sponsors and is working now on getting financial sponsors.
Then, on top of that, he’s working on raising money for the charity. There’s a page for his project, the Everest Endeavor, on the Children’s Cancer Association website, where people can donate. He’s also organizing a benefit concert in cooperation with the group.
And he’s training. A lot. He’s focusing on endurance, which he’ll need for all the climbs. He built a climbing wall in his garage and he’s been doing a lot of hiking and biking as well. He even runs the trail to Mount Pilchuck when he can. When he tries for Everest, he wants to be in top form.
“I don’t want to do these climbs as just a tourist,” he said. “I want to learn and share. I want to pave my own way.”
Follow along with Kyle Bingham’s journey, or donate, at https://everestendeavor.com.