To the summit: Mount Angel’s Jennifer Hill chosen to climb Mount Rainier

May 2016 Posted in People
Jennifer Hill

Jennifer Hill

While 75 REI employees from across the United States applied for the opportunity, only 15 were chosen.

Including a resident of Mount Angel.

Jennifer Hill is one of 15 REI employees selected to summit Mount Rainier in Washington with REI CEO Jerry Stritzke this July. Hill was the only Oregonian selected.

The climb is part of the annual REI fundraising effort called Climb for a Cause.

REI Climb for a Cause was started after several REI employees set out to summit Mount Rainier in August 2013. On the descent, the team was caught in a severe whiteout and forced to weather the storm until they were rescued three days later by a team of rescue climbers.

Since then, the co-op has come together each year to Climb for a Cause. This year’s fundraiser benefits Washington’s National Park Fund, which supports search-and-rescue efforts and improved safety for visitors to Mount Rainier and other regional destinations.

To participant in the Climb for a Cause,  applicants shared their personal stories about overcoming challenges big and small. From diving in to the great outdoors for the first time to showing their loved ones the power of following a dream at any age or stage of life.

Four REI employees from Washington, three from Minnesota, and one each from Colorado, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Oregon were selected.

While each applicant’s story was unique, every one of them expressed the importance of living a life outdoors.  Hill submitted a 150 words on why she wanted to climb and a video.

This is what she wrote:

”Fifty. It’s the peak I thought I’d never reach and now I’m here. I’m on the edge between the beginning and end of my life. Do I raise a flag and celebrate or fall to my knees in exhaustion looking down at the beauty behind me? Mother Nature is in my soul. I will continue to work harder, breathe deeper, stand taller and live outside. Now it’s my turn to push to a summit. I’ve sailed across the ocean, been married 25 years, run half marathons, raised three kids and held my mother’s hand through chemotherapy. I’ve got tenacity, focus and strength to embrace what’s next. REI believes in me. And with them behind me I owe it to myself and everyone whose lives I touch, including the members of REI, to continue blazing ahead. To inspire them. To keep me engaged and challenged. I’ve never climbed a mountain but I can. Yes I can.”

Each climber is challenged to raise at least $2,000. Donations will be matched to by REI.

In addition to taking pledges, climbers are organizing bake sales, runs, and other  events to raise funds.

To make a donation to Climb for a Cause, visit: or email her at

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