Seahawks coach, NFL commissioner to climb Mount Rainier for charity

SEATTLE -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Seattle Seahawks coach Jim Mora are ready for a big trek -- up Mount Rainier.

Mountaineering great Ed Viesturs will lead the climb up the 14,411-foot peak on July 5, and the group hopes to plant a flag at the summit three days later. The climb will benefit the United Way of King County, Washington.

Also scheduled to make the climb behind Viesturs -- the only American to summit all 14 of the world's 26,000-plus-foot peaks without supplemental oxygen -- are Seahawks chief executive officer Tod Leiweke, United Way CEO Jon Fine and climbing guide Peter Whittaker, among others.

According to the National Park Service, Mount Rainier is the most heavily glaciered peak in the contiguous United States. Reaching the summit requires a vertical elevation gain of more than 9,000 feet over a distance of 8 or more miles. Thousands of climbers reach the summit each year, but some have perished in accidents such as falling into crevasses of ice.

Mora grew up in the Seattle area and is in his first season replacing Mike Holmgren as the Seahawks' coach.

Mora, 47, is an avid runner who tromps up a rugged mountain trail near his suburban Seattle home in predawn hours multiple times each week. Seahawks players have run up the mountain with Mora, and they've had varying degrees of success -- and pain.

Goodell, who turned 50 in February, also is known to be in great shape from working out daily.

The United Way says it already has received enough pledges for the "Climb for the Community" from Seattle-area corporations and foundations to provide 1.5 million pounds of additional food for the agency's emergency food system in King County.

"The entire nation is feeling the weight of the economy," Leiweke said. "Here in the Northwest, when people are hurting, we rally together and do something about it. It is our hope that the whole community will join us by making a donation to our basic needs effort upon which so many of our neighbors rely."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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