It may not be as cold, and they won't need extra oxygen, but thousands of American schoolchildren will go on a month-long virtual climb of Mount Everest starting today. They are part of the Coleman Everest 5.5 Challenge at www.colemaneverest.com, following in the footsteps of eighth grade Denver science teacher Mike Haugen, 30, an experienced mountaineer and field tester for ColemanÂ® ExponentÂ® gear.
Haugen is encouraging kids to discover Everest in their own backyard and remain physically active both at home and at school to fight what he calls â€œnature deficit,â€ one cause of obesity and many other problems kids face today. The specially designed Web site contains a list of 112 activities â€“ from aerobics and jogging to hiking and camping â€“ that kids can undertake as they earn their way from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, to the summit of the 29,035-foot mountain. Each of the 20 segments is completed when a child reports being active at least 60 minutes (or 10,000 steps) for that day.
So far, more than 300 teachers and 2,150 students in grade school and above have signed up to follow the expedition. The top schools that complete the trek will receive a framed Tibetan flag that Haugen took with him up the mountain and an autographed photo of Haugen.
In addition to tracking their virtual trek online, students can also see videos, photos and e-mail reports of Haugen's actual Everest expedition. Haugen is expected to summit via the southern route by May 30, depending upon the weather. The virtual expedition on colemaneverest.com ends May 11 with the top schools announced on the site on May 16.
Haugen departed Denver for his expedition on March 17 following a rousing send-off at his Denver middle school, an event covered by Colorado radio and television stations and newspapers. He began posting expedition dispatches to his Coleman-sponsored blog immediately thereafter. In one dispatch he tells of wearing a facemask to protect against trail dust, and the need to boil water and use a hand sanitizer to stay healthy on the trek to Everest Base Camp. In another he explains that the landing strip in Lukla is so short, it's built uphill to avoid hitting a nearby mountain.
During the expedition, Haugen is testing a variety of technical Coleman Exponent products including stoves, lanterns, tents and mummy bags.
Visitors to the site can see Haugen's dispatches from the mountain and track his progress. They can also sign up to receive his dispatches by e-mail and submit questions for him to answer. Following the expedition, Haugen will conduct a nationwide tour of Coleman retailers and other locales to meet with schoolchildren who followed the expedition and to present a slide show of the experience.
The Web site for the Coleman Everest 5.5 Challenge, named for the exact height of Everest in miles, was designed by PE Central (pecentral.org), the leading online resource for K-12 health and physical education teachers, parents and students.
The Coleman Company, Inc. is an international leader in the innovation and marketing of outdoor products, including its legendary lanterns, as well as stoves, tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, coolers, furniture and grills. Its products are sold and used all over the world. Coleman embraces its leadership role as an advocate for the outdoors, contributing to outdoor causes and inspiring people to get outside. Founded in 1900 and based in Wichita, Kan., Coleman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jarden Corporation, and can be found online at www.coleman.com. Consumers can contact Coleman by phone at 800-835-3278 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note to media: News releases and images are available upon request or can be downloaded at www.coleman.com/newsroom. For media use only: to see a demonstration of what kids will see when they log on and begin their â€œclimb,â€ log on to http://colemaneverest.pecentral.org with the user name sally and the password media.
ColemanÂ® and ExponentÂ® are registered trademarks of the Coleman Company, Inc.
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