ther·mo·sphere [thur-muh-sfeer] noun: the region of the upper atmosphere in which temperature increases continuously with altitude, encompassing essentially all of the atmosphere above the mesosphere. The thermosphere begins at 275,000 feet above sea level and extends up to 620 miles above sea level.If our vertical limits as humans were defined by the hospitable regions of the Earth's atmosphere, we would be - as the collective human race - "beauty incomplete". Had humans never bothered to climb the world's highest mountains or invent crafts to travel through our atmosphere and beyond, we would be left with an incomplete picture of the harsh, yet tranquil beauty of the Earth. Men and women have climbed the highest peaks and explored space affording us terra firms humans a glimpse, not only in picture, but through narrative, into the wilds and "the great beyond".
As a mountain athlete with rheumatoid arthritis - and a human! -, I am no stranger to vertical limits. In 2013, with a cheery prognosis from the doc, I decided to take on the challenge of hiking 500,000 vertical feet with a minimum of 100 summits of Mount Sentinel and University Mountain in Missoula. Why? Because it brings me great joy!
This blog will document the journey to 500,000 feet, the lower reaches of the thermosphere. My intent in writing any of this is not rooted in the desire to dazzle, but rather in the importance of storytelling, sharing my experience managing rheumatoid arthritis, hiking/climbing, faith struggles, pain and ultimately joy!
Stay tuned for posts and vertical feet status updates weekly. Follow your heart and if it compels you to follow this blog, all the better. Let the journey begin!