The blustering winds and swirling snow may have forced the small group to turn back from the summit, but nothing will stop them from reaching their goal of raising money for kids.
“It got a little bit brisk,” climb leader and Issaquah resident Tom Varga said. “Brisk” meant winds of up to 40-50 miles per hour. “We decided to play it safe,” he added.
Varga and his group of five other climbers were forced to turn back at 12,600 feet up on Mount Rainier after the weather got too bad on June 19.
The group of climbers were raising money for a charity group called CFOS Foundation, a grant-giving organization created by company Varga works at, CFO Selections financial consulting group based out of Bellevue. CFOS is a new foundation that is hoping to raise $50,000 to start off its giving this year. The group plans to select certain child advocacy groups to grant funds to sometime this year.
“Now we have enough money to start evaluating grant proposals,” Varga said.
The group wants to pick one or two so that they can really get behind the group and stick with them for a while.
The group raised about $25,000 for the climb, and CFO Selections will match those funds dollar for dollar. The foundation is also accepting donations.
Varga has been climbing for about 10 years, ever since a friend took him up.
“I strapped on some cramp-ons and said this is cool,” Varga recalled.
Since then Varga has climbed all over the Northwest as well as New Zealand.
The other members of the climbing team, Ken Krass, Bob Schmidt, Tom McDowell, Rick Shedd and Leo Falkenshammer, have all either climbed with Varga or knew him through friends or networking.
The group decided on climbing since mixing athletics and fundraising seemed like an ideal combination.
“You get in shape, and have your efforts produce something for the greater good,” Varga said.
Although no plans are set in stone yet for another climb, he is entertaining the possibility.
“We’re going to drink some beer and have a de-brief here pretty soon,” Varga said.
To donate visit www.cfoselections.com/cfos-foundation.