Raise funds for a great cause, while raising your hackles and adrenaline level. That’s the premise behind the fourth annual EddyFlower Vertical Challenge, which kicks off March 15 with a brand new – and earlier– competition for those on the East Coast.
The concept is simple: athletes have 32 days to drop as much vertical as possible, while raising funds for non-profit organization First Descents, founded by Brad Ludden in 2001 to help cure young adults (of the emotional effects of cancer through outdoor adventure therapy, most notably kayaking. At the end of the 32 days, two awards will be given to the teams or individuals in each division, one for most donations, and one for most vertical. The competition gave out a total of $15,000 in prizes to the 2009 winners.
So far, the contest seems to be garnering a solid following. In three years, it’s raised over $68,000 funds for First Descents, sending 68 young adults with cancer to its weeklong camps across the U.S. Its 182 entrants paddling 1,182,276 vertical feet — equal to 40 sea-to-summit trips up Mt. Everest. In all, 43 teams from 13 states have taken part, running 1,389 eligible waterways in 31 states
The 2010 First Descents program features ten camps focused on whitewater kayaking and five new camps that will focus on climbing and mountaineering.
The 2010 event format has changed slightly to provide the Eastern boaters a better river flow window. Participants are instructed to compete in only one of the two time windows offered during the competition: the East window (March 15 – April 15) or the West window (May 15 – June 15). Prizes include kayaking trips, kayaks, paddles, outdoor cameras, sporting equipment, one-day ski lift tickets, clothing and more. Registration is now open to paddlers of all types and classes.
For more information about First Descents or how to donate, please visit www.firstdescents.org