Have you ever had that amazing feeling when you meet a person for the first time and instantly know that this person is going to be a part of your life forever? Well, that’s exactly what happened when I first met Izzy back in 2013 on a tiny island in the Gulf of Thailand. Just after that, she tipped 2 liters of white paint down her leg and the deal was sealed, I knew this girl was one of my tribe!
Izzy and I met while working at Phangan Animal Care for Strays (PACS), a small nursing clinic for the sick and injured stray and wild animals of Koh Phangan in Thailand. Izzy now lives in Washington state with her husband Chase and is taking on the challenge of climbing Mount Rainier to raise money for PACS. I recently caught up with Izzy to ask her more about it.
Hey Izzy, welcome to I Heart You World! I’m so proud of you for taking on the challenge of climbing Mount Rainer to raise money and awareness for a cause close to both our hearts. You are honestly one of the kindest, most amazing people I know! Okay, let’s get on with this…
Describe yourself in three words.
I would describe myself as- ambitious, free-spirited (can I count that as one word?) and passionate.
What is Phangan Animal Care for Strays? How did you find them and what made you want to raise money specifically for them?
Phangan Animal Care for Strays is an independent charity on the Thai island of Koh Phangan. They are dedicated to providing free nursing care for sick stray animals, they have stellar spay and neuter efforts and vaccinate for prevention of disease. I first went to volunteer at PACS in 2013 for 7 months, I ended up staying for close to two years. They are a rose among thorns on an island riddled with corruption, and an upward battle for good. With more funding they would be able to hire a full-time vet- at the moment they rely on traveling vets for their spay/ neuter efforts.
Give us some Mount Rainer stats, whats the big deal?!
Mount Rainier is the highest peak in Washington state. It stands 14,411ft above sea level and is considered one of the most dangerous active volcanoes and the most glaciated mountain in the lower 48 states! 10,000 people attempt to summit each year yet only 50% of them are successful.
Pretty impressive! How long will your climb take and where will you be sleeping?
I’ll be sleeping in a tent in the snow, first night at 10,000ft, second night will be at Ingram flats next to a glacier at 11,000ft. The third day I will summit and come all the way back down
What gave you the idea of climbing Mount Rainer to raise money? (Are you crazy?!)
I knew when I left PACS that I wanted to raise money for them and one day I thought to myself, “what will catch people’s attention?” And in Washington state, Mt.Rainier (often referred to as “The Mountain”) is kind of a big deal. Maybe I am crazy!
How have you been training for your climb? What is your training schedule like?
I get up at 4:30-5am 5 days a week to spend 2 hours at the gym lifting weights and various cardio exercises. I also go hiking at least once a week with a 55lbs pack on my back, gaining about 1000ft each mile. It’s been very difficult especially with a full-time job. I’m constantly tired… and hungry! I’m currently eating about 2500-3000 calories a day and I have lost weight since I started training! My training session today consisted of 1 hour on the stair master with a 55lbs pack, 6 sets of 25 of the following; arm curl, arm raises, overhead press, lateral pull down, triceps dips, squats, split squats. With 30-second planks between sets. It was killer!
Have you had any professional help during your preparation and training?
I have received zero professional help during my training but I do seek advice from various mountaineering forums for training tips and tricks.
Do you have a mantra or quote that keeps you going when training gets tough?
My friend from home sent me a mantra band saying, “She believed she could, so she did.” I wear it every day. Reminding me that I can do anything I put my mind to. I also love the Edmund Hillary quote, “It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” I feel like these two sayings are similar and they make me feel motivated.
Where can people donate and follow your climb online?
One last question… Would you rather be attacked by one horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses?
Definitely a horse sized duck!! I would befriend it and ride it into the sunset- his name would be ducky McDuckster
Izzy, I love you, you are an inspiration! Good luck on your climb, I know you can do it!