Since the first ascent of Cotopaxi seven years ago, the annual Climbing for ROMP initiative has raised more than $500,000 to provide prosthetic care to underserved amputees. Some of the nation’s well-known amputees have made the trek to the mountaintop, including military veteran Kirstie Ennis, policy advocate Nicole Ver Kuilen, and US Paralympian Lacey Henderson.
The roster for this year’s expedition was unveiled this week, and it’s as impressive as usual. The team will include another Paralympian, gold-medal snowboarder Brenna Huckaby, along with two friends of Amplitude (Caitlin Conner and Ariel Rigney) whose Cotopaxi ascents were sidelined in recent years due to travel concerns related to COVID. They’ll be joined by part-time runner / full-time pirate Gabriel Cardier, Mendocino Movement founder Zach Friedley, all-around athlete Kyle Stepp, and another dozen or two climbers. The team will include some of the patients who’ve received prosthetic care in ROMP’s Ecuadorean clinic, illustrating the life-changing potential of high-quality prosthetic care.
“ROMP’s mission is extremely close to my heart,” says Friedley, whose own nonprofit helps underresourced amputees gain access to prosthetic devices. “I believe that movement is a basic human right, and I want to spend the rest of my life doing whatever it takes to get people the same opportunities and resources I had access to. That is why I climb for ROMP.”
This year’s Cotopaxi climb will take place in October, a few weeks later than in previous years. While the team is on the slopes, you’re invited to hit the trail in your own area and hike in solidarity. We’ve listed the full roster below. To sponsor the team (or an individual climber), visit the Climbing for ROMP page.
2022 Climbing for ROMP Team Members
Stephanie Kelko Kong