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Students Take On Mt. Rainier, Climate Change

August 5, 2008

Puyallup, WA – A dozen University of Montana students are coming to Washington for a climb up 14,000-foot Mt. Rainier Aug. 15-17. Their goal for the "Climb for Climate" is to call attention to what young people can do to curb the effects of global warming on the mountains of the Northwest. They've each raised at least $1,500 in pledges, and they're donating the proceeds to a nonprofit clean energy advocacy group, Climate Solutions, based in Seattle and Olympia.

A sophomore at the University of Montana, Brett Klaassen of Puyallup, organized the climb. He remembers ice caves on Rainier that now are gone, and he says students are realizing they need to get more involved in environmental protection.

"A lot of very young people care a lot about the environment. Maybe they don't contact their U.S. representative every chance they get, but they still want to do something good. For us, it's almost like a mini-protest. We're just upset about the way things are going, and we'd like to see some change."

The students are dedicating the climb to a classmate, Sam Sylvester, age 23, of Massachusetts, Klaassen says. Sylvester is missing and presumed to have drowned two weeks ago on another outdoor trip.

"Sam was really interested. He was one of the first people to sign on. And he really was kind of the glue that held a lot of us together - he'll be sadly missed. But we're still going to do the climb, because we know he'd want us to do it."

Klaassen hopes to make the "Climb for Climate" an annual event.

Information about the climb is available at www.climbforclimate.org. The Climate Solutions website is www.climatesolutions.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA