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WHS sophomore and Mountain Alliance member Summer Lewis climbs at Little Lost Cove Cliffs. Photo submitted.

Originally published: 2013-10-21 11:11:32
Last modified: 2013-10-21 11:12:24

Mountain Alliance to hold 'Climbathon' fundraiser

by Staff Reports

Mountain Alliance will host its annual "Climbathon" fundraiser Oct. 24 to support the program, which has provided outdoor adventures and service opportunities to high school youth since 1990.

The Climbathon will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Watauga High School's lacrosse field and Alpine Tower, a high-ropes adventure course.

With the exception of the alternative spring break trip, this is the only time students are encouraged to raise support for the program.

The goal is for each student to raise $50 for Mountain Alliance that will go directly toward providing the free programs that have positively changed the high school experience for countless youth. Every dollar raised through the Climbathon will be matched by ECRS Retail Automation Solutions, up to $4,000.

While all students are encouraged to raise money, no donation is required to climb the tower, play in the air walk, enter the costume contest and have dinner on Mountain Alliance.

"Gus the bus," the program's beloved 1991 Chevy, will be officially retired during the Climbathon. The top 20 student fundraisers will win a seat on "Gus's Last Ride" from the Alpine Tower back to the high school. Everyone is welcome to paint a memory or farewell wish to Gus during Climbathon.

The nonprofit organization, based at WHS, offers regular after-school and weekend programs designed to help young people grow and learn about themselves and their community. All high-school-age youth in the county are welcome to join, and there is no cost to participate.

This fall, 120 students have joined Mountain Alliance to participate in one or more of its 35 programs. Last weekend, Mountain Alliance and the North Carolina Outward Bound School partnered to offer 31 students a three-day Outward Bound expedition. Students backpacked and rock climbed at Table Rock, one of the most popular recreation areas in the southeast.

Climbathon sponsors include ECRS, Phoenix Experiential Designs, the Council for Outdoor Recreation and Education, Higher Grounds coffee shop, Recess, Tina Houston and Jerry Cantwell, and Dan and Berneita Burk.

Visit or call (828) 263-1770 to learn more about the Mountain Alliance.