Most students wouldn't miss their own college commencement, but Pleasantville resident Robert Sobecki '13 isn't your typical college student. He took a leave of absence from Olin to pursue a lifelong dream of climbing Mt. Everest alongside his father. Rob has been training to climb 29,035 feet to the summit of Mt. Everest, and he did so the day Rob was scheduled to graduate from Olin College, May 20, 2012. As his classmates received their diploma's Rob received the reward of a lifetime, views from Everest's summit!
The father-son team set out not only to climb to the top of the world but also to raise money for Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger. The organization works to save the lives of malnourished children while providing communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger. Rob was particularly impressed with the organization's ability to send most of the funds straight to the field in helping affected areas.
In order to raise money for Action Against Hunger in conjunction with their climbing efforts, Rob and his father set up a webpage (www.climbingagainsthunger.org), where they allow anyone to donate to the cause and promise that they will match donations dollar for dollar up to $25,000. Additionally they set up donation levels and offered donors a DVD of photos and videos taken during the trek, journal entries, and an authentic prayer flag blessed by a traditional Buddhist monk along with other incentives.
Rob developed a passion for climbing after watching the Mt. Everest Imax movie in 1998. His raw ambition became realized once he read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, which inspired him to understand that climbing is much more accessible than he previously thought. Since then Rob and his father have not looked back, together they have climbed Mt. Eisenhower, Mt. Washington, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and most recently Mt. Everest.
Rob and his dad have been climbing together for several years, but climbing to Mt. Everest's summit was a "huge step up" and quite the milestone for both their climbing experiences and philanthropic efforts.
"Once we were up and over the Step, I knew it was only another half hour of gentle (albeit extremely tiring) ascent up to the summit. I was walking very slowly by this point, but eventually we made it to the summit. I was overjoyed after so many years of dreaming of such a moment, and working towards pursuing it," Said Rob Sobecki.
Rob's full story can be found on his blog, where he paints a picture of his entire adventure: http://climbingagainsthunger.blogspot.com/.