Tonganoxie dentist thrilled by 12,000-foot adventure
Grant Ritchey climbs mountain to benefit needy
Tonganoxie dentist Grant Ritchey has climbed a mountain and he plans to do it again next year.
Ritchey made his July 28 ascent up Mount Adams, a 12,242-foot summit in south central Washington, with about two dozen dentists. About 15 of the participants made it to the top the rest turned back.
The climb was an annual fund-raiser for Operation Smile, Ritchey said, a charity that primarily provides oral surgery and plastic surgery to the underprivileged who have severe dental problems, such as cleft palates.
At last tally, the group had raised about $60,000 for Operation Smile. Ritchey alone brought in almost $4,000, donations made by friends and family.
Ritchey called the climb up the glacier "a challenge" and said July 30, his first day back in the office, "Now I'm paying the price. My legs are really sore, and I have blisters on my heels the size of silver dollars."
But, he said, that's just a part of it, and it's for a good cause. Ritchey said they started Sunday's climb from the base camp at 3 a.m.
"We climbed straight up the glacier and got to the summit at 10 o'clock in the morning," he said.
That same day the group maneuvered down to base camp and then 3,000 foot more to reach their original starting point.
Ritchey got a relief from summer's heat while there, he said.
"It got down to the teens during the night, and at the top of the mountain, it seemed really cold," Ritchey said. "There were 30 to 40 mile per hour winds and it was about 30 degrees."
The site of next year's climb is unknown at this time, but Ritchey said, wherever it is, he's interested.