About Us

To the mountain and back

They're back! After training throughout the winter and spring quarters for their ascent of Mt. Rainier, the Summit for Students team all safely came down from the mountain and returned to their lives in the lowlands.

Summit for students team
The four Green River climbers. From left to right: John Avery, Matt Swenson, Yvonne Huang, and Elizabeth DelVecchio.

The climb's main goal was to raise funds for the Immigrant Student Scholarship, which funds ESOL students who take transition and college-level classes at Green River.

Matt Swenson, Green River College grant writer, Yvonne Huang, Aviation Technology program coordinator, Elizabeth DelVecchio, MarCom communications consultant, and John Avery, ESOL faculty and Transitional Studies and Wellness Division chair, attempted to climb the mountain July 9, together with two other non-Green River-affiliated friends.

The group of six climbed from the White River Campground (elevation 4,400 feet) up the Inter Glacier to Camp Schurman (9,439 feet) on the mountain's eastern side on the previous day. After an evening and morning of rest, they decided to attempt a sunset ascent. The goal was to climb to the summit by 9 p.m. and then to descend back to the base camp by headlamp.

inter glacier
The team crosses the inter glacier. Photo by John Avery.

The weather conditions were perfect. The freezing level was at 13,500 feet, which meant the snow was soft but not too soft, and with the clear skies they were well on their way up the mountain.

The group divided into two rope teams of three and negotiated their way between crevasses of astounding deep blue beauty and extreme danger. They steadily made an ascent at a rate of about 800 vertical feet an hour. Then they had some physical difficulties, which forced them to turn back after reaching an elevation of 10,800 feet. The group responsibly exercised safe mountaineering practices by not exceeding their capabilities in that extreme environment and returned safely to Camp Schurman.

Although the group didn't reach the summit, they achieved many of their goals. They had the privilege of experiencing a unique, remote and glorious environment and returned without incident. They certainly got in much better shape, raised awareness about the Immigrant Student Scholarship, and nearly reached the fund-raising goal of $5,000.

Matt Swenson
Director of Grants Matt Swenson takes a break on the glacier.

So far the Foundation has received $4,621 in contributions. The group of climbers is only $379 short of their goal! There is a commitment for a 100 percent match of all additional funds received until the goal is achieved.

To support this effort and push it to its fund-raising summit, please visit the Foundation web page and click "give now." After entering your name and address, please be sure to use the designation dropdown box to select the Immigrant Student Scholarship.

If you are still curious for more details, view the group's photo archive for a visual tour of the trip.

Thank you from the Green River climbing team.