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Mountaineers Climb for Darfur


Jeremy Sinnema, a member of Manhattan (Mont.) Christian Reformed Church, along with friends Michael Spencer and Travis Swanson, have turned their passion for mountain climbing into a way to help suffering people in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Recently mounting an expedition to Ecuador, they raised sponsorships for six different climbs. They paid their own expenses so all pledges went to aid disaster relief. Approximately $17,000 was administered through World Vision, and now the three also have started their own nonprofit organization, Alpine Challenges for Charity.

At their ACC website, supporters could follow them as they challenged glacial mountain conditions, the weather, and their own stamina. To avoid snow slides caused by the sun, they climbed from midnight until dawn.

Sinnema described the experience as a lot of slow walking up steep snow slopes in the dark. They had hoped to reach Ecuador’s highest peak, Chimborazo, but weather and ash on its slopes from a nearby volcano made the conditions too dangerous.

Home again, Sinnema expressed gratitude “not only for the donations, but more importantly for the prayers. [The prayers] were appreciated and put to good use,” he said. “Our guardian angels have been working overtime this past month keeping us safe.”

Contemplating their next “challenge for charity,” they are considering three Montana peaks—perhaps for a cause closer to home.

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