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An Amazing Journey to the Top of the World

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This blog post was written by Janina Kowalski, Associate Director of Development at the COPD Foundation.

It is June 2016 and Chase Hinckley is making his way towards the world’s second highest mountain, K2. A foreboding mountain on the China-Pakistan border, K2 sits at an elevation of 28,251 ft. It’s a uniquely challenging mountain that has only seen 306 people summit its peak and never during the winter.

Climbing the K2 for COPD K2 sits about 800 feet below Mt. Everest but unlike it, features very little flat terrain. K2 is a very difficult and technical climb; the mountain is a cone of ice and limestone with 45-degree angles. It is considered a harder climb than Everest because it is a steep mountain with unpredictable weather.

To put it simply, K2 is the ultimate challenge. For Chase Hinckley, climbing K2 is not only a challenge of his own personal limits, but an opportunity to raise funds for COPD.

Conquering the K2 for COPD Why is Chase Hinckley climbing K2 for COPD? For Chase, COPD hits close to home. His grandmother has been living with COPD for years and he’s been touched by her struggle.

Chase is no stranger to mountains; he’s scaled Denali, Mt. Rainier, and Kilimanjaro. Chase feels that his experiences mountaineering has given him a unique perspective in what it is like to struggle for air.

“Anyone who’s ever been out so out of breath that they felt like suffocating knows that trapped feeling and how desperate it can be. Relief for the breathless is as important as life itself,” he says.

Conquering the K2 for COPD Chase’s journey is already underway. He arrived in Pakistan in mid June and then arrived in Skandu/Shangri-La, which is the typical starting point for the journey. Skandu is a beautiful valley in the foothills of the Himalayas and a good place to acclimate to the altitude before trekking to K2. From Skandu, Chase will be on a 52-day trek through the mountains and ultimately up to K2.

He hopes to reach the summit of K2 around August 5th but said that it’s dependent on weather. While June, July, and August are considered the best months, the weather can still produce life-threatening storms at any time. Chase will be summiting via the “Abruzzi Ridge”, the standard path that about 75% of all climbers take.

Chase has a webpage that he is using for donations for COPD and it’s a great place to leave him encouraging messages after you have made a donation in honor of his climb. Let him know that we are rooting for him to summit K2 here.

In the following months of July and August, we will update on Chase’s journey on our social media pages and COPD360social. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or COPD360social to stay updated on his progress.

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