After Kirstie Ennis comes back from climbing Mount Everest (where she’s currently acclimating at Camp Two), what will she do for an encore? Climb another mountain, of course.
Ennis is one of the headliners on the Range of Motion Project’s 2023 Climb Team, which will ascend Cayambe this fall in ROMP’s annual fundraising expedition. A veteran of ROMP’s 2019 climb, Ennis will be joined by about a dozen teammates in the ninth annual campaign, which aims to raise $120,000 to support amputees’ mobility. (Here’s where you can add your support to the cause.)
“I want to be a part of this incredible climb to change lives for other amputees while bringing attention to something so close to my heart,” says Jamie Blanek, who will be making her first ascent as a member of ROMP’s Climb Team. “I believe that walking should not be a privilege but a right for all,” adds Jason Malvar, another rookie ROMP campaigner.
The ROMP climb traditionally targets Cotopaxi, the second-highest peak in Ecuador at 19,347 feet. But the mountain, which is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, started erupting last October 21, just two weeks after ROMP’s 2022 team posed triumphantly at the summit. The mountain has been belching sparks on and off ever since, so it’s closed to all travelers.
Cayambe, a less fiery neighboring peak, is only a whisker shorter than Cotopaxi (18,996 feet), but it’s a lot better behaved: It hasn’t erupted since about 1785. And the change in venue does nothing to diminish the excitement surrounding this year’s climb, nor the importance of the cause.
In addition to Ennis, the Climb Team’s roster of adaptive mountaineers includes:
- Cam Ayala, former Bachelorette contestant (@camronayala)
- Jamie Blanek, pro snowboarder and pageant winner (@jamieblanek)
- MaKenzie Franklin, Team USA sitting volleyballer
- Steven Cantwell, Team USA snowboarder (@steven.cantwell)
- Taylor Haines, Alaskan adventurer (taylor_haines)
- Steve Crawford, Paralympic snowboarder in training (@steve_o_crawford)
- Jason Malvar, cyclist, runner, all-around adaptive athlete (@jason.malvar)
- Gustavo Rosa, tough Texan (@gmrosa)
They’ll be joined by ROMP founder Dave Krupa, a prosthetist and congenital BKA; some patients who’ve received prosthetic care at ROMP’s clinic in Ecuador; nonadaptive climbers Micah Ness and Santino Martirano; and ROMP staffers Maria Fernanda Pinto and Lauren “LP” Panasewicz.
The team will be training and fundraising together for the next five months, while increasing awareness about the glaring need for access to prosthetic limbs around the world. Over the past eight years, Climbing for ROMP supporters have climbed in more than 300 locations worldwide, raising more than $670,000 to continue ROMP’s mission of providing high-quality prosthetic care to those who cannot access it.
“Climbing for ROMP has always been about the resiliency of the human spirit,” says Panasewicz. “Our hashtag #WhatsYourMountain is a metaphor for the emotional, physical, or mental challenges that are unique to each of us but not unique to the human experience.”
Climbing for ROMP 2023 is supported by Hydroflask, Osprey Packs, Royal Bank of Canada, Cumbre Tours, and The Kirstie Ennis Foundation. There are still partnership opportunities available for brands and funders that align with ROMP’s values and vision; contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.