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Benjamin J. Cohen Faculty Development Fund
Being the Director of ABLE means it’s important for Ken Sinapius to continually challenge himself the same way he asks ABLE students to challenge themselves on their adventures. Thanks to the generosity of the Benjamin J. Cohen Faculty Development Fund, Ken had the opportunity to push his personal limits this past summer on a 10-day trip to the North Cascades where he went on to climb Mount Adams and Mount Rainier!
At an elevation of 14,411 feet, Ken knew Mount Rainier would prove challenging and require skill development. Ken shared, “The intimidating nature of mountaineering did have me feeling the way I know many of the ABLE students feel when I ask them to step out there and push through the challenges of an ABLE activity. It’s all about commitment. Being committed to doing something means taking the steps required to make it happen.”
There was no guarantee of success and the climbing ranger’s blog that talked about the route being unstable due to warm temperature didn’t help. There were times before the actual trip and on the mountain when Ken had good reasons for not continuing, but the commitment was always in the back of his my mind. After making it to the summit and getting back down, the feeling of accomplishment made him believe in himself and that he could do more. That feeling brought him back to the ABLE program and the program’s goal of helping students believe they can do more.
In further efforts to prepare for the challenge and adventure ahead, Ken worked with Dave Pastorok of Adventure Network at the Doylestown Rock Gym on technique aspects such as crevasse rescue skills. Luckily, these were skills Ken didn’t need to use during his trip. He also began taking day hikes on Mount Misery in Valley Forge then moving on to a steep section of the Appalachian Trail in Port Clinton.
In addition to rising to a new challenge and testing his personal limits, this trip was an excellent opportunity to get up to speed on the latest techniques of mountaineering and also learn about the impact that global warming is having on the area. Ken recalled that the glaciers have greatly decreased in size since he had last been in the area 10 years ago.
After his mountaineering expedition, Ken is excited to share his experiences and new insights with the DVFS community and feels ready to continue to take on the DVFS ABLE program in the years to come!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so Ken has provided some fantastic photos to help tell the story of his “very worthwhile experience.”
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