A group of local firefighters will be climbing Mt. Denali in Alaska this June to raise awareness and funds for The WARM Place. Meet one of the climbers, Alex Cramer.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do for a living.
I’ve lived on both sides of the U.S. growing up as a military brat, but I’ve been in Texas for the last 18 years. I love being outdoors and challenging myself on a regular basis. I’ve been a firefighter for 8 years and work for the Arlington Fire Department as an Apparatus Operator.
2. How did you learn about The WARM Place and what inspired you to choose TWP to benefit from you climb?
I learned about TWP through a friend of mine that has worked with them a few times. At the start of all of this preparation for Denali, our climbing group knew we wanted to use this climb as a platform to help raise awareness and funds for an organization that benefited others. After visiting with TWP, seeing what all they had to offer our community, and encountering en emotional connection with this organization……it was a no-brainer. Children of all ages have a comforting place to get in touch with their grief, how others feel, and how they can live with it themselves.
3. Why is it important to you to raise awareness and funds for TWP through your climb?
It’s important to me to help raise awareness and funds for TWP because I want their services known to those in need. As someone who experienced loss at a young age, I can see the many benefits of having their resources available. Luckily, I had a tremendous support system within my family. Others may not be afforded the same and if I can help get them the help they need or desire, then my heart is full.
4. Tell me how you first got involved with climbing and what you are doing to train for your Denali climb.
I first got involved in climbing as a hobby, a way to challenge myself and have fun with friends on my off days from work. Not long after I started I met another climber from Ireland that talked me into climbing Denali, the highest mountain in North America. It’s cold, somewhat technical, you take all of your own stuff (no porters or Sherpas), and the views are like no other. I was sold, but I needed more experience before tackling something of that nature. Since then, we’ve summitted multiple 14’ers in Colorado and Washington in both the summer and winter seasons. It’s a very rewarding experience as you push up the mountain with loads of gear and finally reaching the top. The views are always worth it, but most importantly, the camaraderie and friendship you build with others climbers is lifelong and irreplaceable. I’m currently training in phases. The first phases was almost entirely strength training with Olympic weights. The second and third phases are tailored around maintaining the strength and improving the metabolic conditioning at that new level. Since I’ll be carrying anywhere between 80-120 lbs between my pack and sled over a long period of time, I wanted to make sure that I over prepared and was able to perform related tasks with ease. Lots of hills with the sled and weighted vest, crossfit style circuit workouts, and lifting.
5. What is the craziest experience you’ve had while climbing?
My craziest experience while climbing would have to be jumping into a crevasse…..on purpose. While training for Denali on Mt. Rainier, every one of us had the opportunity to simulate a real-life crevasse rescue situation. This involved knowingly jumping into a crevasse that is so deep you can’t even see the bottom, all the while you are trusting that your line group will catch and pull you up with a haul system. Me being the person I am, I decided not to tell them when I was jumping in and pulled a fast one on them. They caught me pretty quick, but they were pretty mad. I trusted them after that, but I’m not so sure they would say the same about me.
6. After conquering Denali what do you think your next great adventure will be?
After Denali, my next great adventure will probably be…….Actually, I probably shouldn’t divulge anything else because my mom’s probably reading this and fixin’ to have a heart attack.
Alex and his team have organized the event, “A Cold Climb for The WARM Place” and set a goal to raise $20,310 (the elevation of Mt. Denali) for grieving children at The WARM Place. You can help support them on their mission at 2 fun events this June.
Thursday, June 2nd- Rahr Brewery come out for a fun night of cold beer and live music. Tickets are $20 and include a commemorative pint glass and 4 beers.
Tuesday June 7th- GRACE in downtown Fort Worth, join Clint and this team as they serve up drinks for your happy hour enjoyment. All donations benefit The WARM Place.
Also, “A Cold Climb for The WARM Place” t-shirts are available for just $15. Contact Shelley for more information.