The Climbing Youth Movement Continues: Matt Moniz
What did you do on your summer vacation? Well 12 year old Matt Moniz is trying the extraordinary.
He and his father, Mike are tagging the highest points in all U.S. 50 States in 50 days. They just completed number 49, Granite Peak in Montana. Next up they leaving for Hawaii to tackle Mauna Kea.
If you are curious about your state's highpoint, take a look at this link. As might be expected, the lowest is Florida's Britton Hill at 345' and the highest is Denali in Alaska at 20,320'. The organization, highpointers.org tracks those going for the high points and helps with information.
So how does one climb 50 peaks in 50 days? Well you can drive to some of the high points. Matt said on his website about their run through the south where they completed 12 high points in six days:
Driving non-stop through states, the team would wake at all hours, run (literally) to the high point and then back for more sleep.
I guess it helps that Dad is there to drive the car :). I took at look at how to get to Florida's highpoint, Britton Hill and found this description on summitpost.org:
To get to Britton Hill is not complicated. Take I-10 on the Florida panhandle from either direction, and exit at rt. 331, just south of De Funiak Springs. Take 331 North for about 20 miles until you see a sign on the right pointing to the Florida highpoint. From the sign, it is about 3 miles to the parking lot. Before you reach it, you go up a steep hill, at the top of which, on the left side of the road, is a sign indicating the highpoint parking area. Park at the trailhead, and walk several yards to a large stone marker that indicates the highpoint. There is a nature trail beyond the highpoint that offers some hiking.
But they are not all that simple. Remember he has already summited Denali, Whitney, Rainier, Mt. Washington and 45 others!
Before you say this is silly or, oh no, another kid trying to get into the record books; take a look at this interview from CBS on his climb of 14 Colorado 14ers in 14 days:
Another excellent and more recent interview is from Denver's ABC station. I can't embed this one so click on the link – it is well worth your time; especially if you are a parent.
So what causes such a youngster to attempt this? One reason Matt climbs is to help his best friend Ian Hess, 9, who suffers from pulmonary arterial hypertension. Matt says:
I'm looking to raise awareness of the rare disease that afflicts my best friend, pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and to encourage other kids like me to get off the couch and into the outdoors.
Not to be left out is Matt's twin sister Kaylee, who says she also enjoys outdoor adventures and is a freestyle skier and likes ski mountaineering. This summer she went with the family on the Kilimanajaro climb.
The youngest member of an exclusive club, Matt is sponsored by Mountain Hardwear and which Matt says is excellent since he outgrows all his clothes every few months!
Matt is working on the 7 Summits with Aconcagua, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro and Denali all completed. While he has not declared his intent for Everest, with the new age regulations in place for Everest, he would have wait a few years on that one – a good thing in my view.
However, in his 7 Summits quest, Carstensz Pyramid, the highest peak in Oceania, is up next.