WICHITA, Kan. â€“ Faced with the growing number of children who spend more time indoors with electronic devices than they do exploring the outdoor world, coupled with the depressing rates of childhood obesity due to poor eating and exercise habits, The Coleman Company, Inc., makers of outdoor recreation gear, is sponsoring a spring 2007 expedition to Mount Everest designed to motivate kids to get outside and recreate more.
The 2007 Coleman Everest 5.5 Challenge is a major focus of the expedition by Denver schoolteacher and veteran mountaineer Mike Haugen, 30, and is directed toward American schoolchildren facing the problem of â€œnature deficit.â€ With the 5.5 Challenge â€“ corresponding to the exact height of Everest in miles â€“ Haugen will encourage children to participate in and log their physical activities as they attempt a virtual climb of Everest that coincides with his actual climb.
Haugen, who also represents ColemanÂ® ExponentÂ® gear as a field tester and ambassador to the outdoor community, departed Colorado March 17 for a summit attempt in mid to late May. During his expedition, Haugen will use a satellite phone, modem, laptop computer, PDA, video camera, digital camera and other communications gear to transmit a series of educational e-mails, voice messages, photos and videos, posting them to his blog on a specially developed Web site â€“ www.colemaneverest.com. Visitors to the site will be able to sign up for regular updates from Mike, and kids will be invited to submit questions for him to answer. Visitors to the site will be able to track Haugen's progress and learn more about the mountain environment and the sport of climbing.
Registration for the one-month Coleman Everest 5.5 Challenge is open to anyone in the United States who wants to participate, with the target audience being schoolchildren fourth grade and older. PE teachers and other interested educators can register their classes, and individuals can register as part of a class or on their own. By choosing from an extensive list of physical activities, participants can record their physical activity in minutes and steps and can view their progress on their virtual Everest climb.
As the company's outdoor advocate, Haugen will take part in a nationwide tour of Coleman retailers after his return to meet with schoolchildren who followed his climb and to present a motivational slide presentation on his experience.
Haugen will climb Everest as part of a trip organized by International Mountain Guides of Washington state, the organization that answered one of climbing's greatest mysteries when in 1999 climbers located the body of George Leigh Mallory, lost on Everest in 1924.
Haugen, who met with President George W. Bush last summer to thank him for his support of Great Outdoors Month, will take to Everest a variety of technical Coleman Exponent products including stoves, lanterns, tents and mummy sleeping bags made for extreme environments.
Upon his return, he will meet with the Coleman product team to assist with the development of new technical gear for the outdoors.
2007 Everest Expedition Timeline
March 15: Online registration begins for Coleman Everest 5.5 Challenge.
March 16: Departure event for Haugen held at the Denver middle school where he teaches.
March 17: Haugen departs Denver for arrival in Kathmandu, Nepal, on March 19.
April 2: Estimated arrival at base camp.
April 9: Virtual climb for children begins. They can begin logging their physical activity and tracking their progress online. When they reach the summit, they can print a personalized certificate to commemorate their achievement.
April-May: Haugen takes a side trek to Island Peak, then climbs to four more camps as he gradually ascends the mountain: Camp I, Camp II, Camp III and Camp IV. At each camp, he moves gear higher, then returns lower to sleep. He uses this time to acclimatize to the effects of altitude.
May 11: Virtual climb for children ends, and top schools will be announced on the www.colemaneverest.com site shortly thereafter.
Late May: Mike's summit attempt, weather permitting.
June-Sept. Haugen attends Coleman-sponsored events at schools and retailers nationwide to share his Everest experience.
â€˜Nature Deficit' Threatens Health of Children
â€œâ€˜Nature deficit' is a real threat to the health of our children,â€ said Gary A. Kiedaisch, Coleman President and CEO. â€œStudies have shown that exposure to nature and being active outdoors may be just the right antidote to an epidemic of obesity and many other problems kids face today. By setting an example in what is arguably the most extreme outdoor adventure on earth, Mike will motivate young people to learn lifetime outdoor skills early, benefit from those experiences, and create memories that last forever.â€
Mike Haugen has been rock climbing and mountaineering since his teenage years and has climbed in many parts of the world. He is an enthusiastic traveler, having explored and climbed in more than 30 countries. He is a Wilderness First Responder, holds Avalanche Level II certification and is a Leave No Trace trainer. A full-time eighth grade science teacher in an inner city Denver school, Haugen is an avid skier and sailor and is experienced in nearly every other outdoor sport. He holds a master's degree in evolutionary physiology from Ohio State University.
His climbing resume includes more than 50 ascents of Mount Rainier; four expeditions to Mount McKinley; an expedition to Aconcagua, Argentina (highest peak in the Americas); a trip to Vinson-Massif, Antarctica; two expeditions to Mexico's Pico de Orizaba volcano; an expedition to Ecuador, where he climbed Cotopaxi and Tungurahua; and a one-day climb of Mount Olympus in Western Washington. In addition, he has made winter ascents of New Hampshire's Mount Washington, as well as numerous climbs in the Rocky Mountains and the Cascades.
Haugen has also worked with young people at the Denver Public Schools Outdoor School, a 700-acre preserve near Boulder, Colo., where he has led many fifth grade classes on daylong adventures to learn outdoor skills and gain confidence.
For more information, visit www.colemaneverest.com.
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.
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