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Extreme Mountaineering or Extreme BS? I think the latter...


clint helander · · anchorage, alaska · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 611

"Nothing like this has ever been attempted before."

You're right, dude. NO ONE has EVER employed several thousand sherpa to get one shitnut up a bunch of mountains before. Nor has a "charity" mission ever been so transparent as a fully sponsored bid for fame.

I can't get enough of this shit.

Kilroywashere! London · · Harrisonburg, Virginia · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 285

mca must be rolling in his grave because of that video. why didnt they just use awolnation and get it over with...

Marc H · · Longmont, CO · Joined May 2007 · Points: 250
John Vanek · · Gardnerville, NV · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0

Exploiting the Exploited.

I'm 54 and like trad, alpine, ice climbing when I can. I love long moderate climbs, and consider myself technically sound with my mountain craft, though I don't climb at a high level. I hope to travel to the Alps some day to fulfill a childhood dream. That sums up my climbing. I am not an expert climber.

I am a retired police lieutenant and have been very active in anti-human trafficking efforts since 2006. I have sat on a number of national-level advisory boards, and now consult on human trafficking responses. My clients include the U.S. Department of Justice, United State Attorney's Office, and a variety of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). I am much more of an expert on human trafficking than climbing.

Since federal law defined trafficking in 2000, many individuals and organizations have appeared in the anti-trafficking community who do not investigate cases or provide direct services to victims. Some of these organizations and individuals have raised A LOT of money, often because most people don't understand the complexity of human trafficking and the even more complex response to slavery. This lack of knowledge allows, sometimes, for self-promoters to enter the anti-HT space and make money. Money which could otherwise go to directly supporting victims of trafficking, or building the collaborative responses needed to prevent trafficking. Trafficking is an immensely popular topic, and Mission 14 seems to me to be much more about the "mission" than making a dent in trafficking. When a person or an organization uses the plight of slaves, exploited children, or other social issues like poverty to promote their own agenda, we call that exploiting the exploited. Mission 14 is not the first, nor will they be the last. But just going by the description of the plan to ascend all 8,000ers - and if the budget is secured - it will probably be the largest amount of money spent to do "something" to fight HT, with very little direct benefit to the victims.

This is shameful. Much could be accomplished in Baltimore and Managua with the funds that will be spent on the expedition. And the amount of money that can be raised by telling the story of Mission 14 is reduced by travel and production fees, and a lot of other costs. So revenue from the story will not equal the lesser amount which will go to the real cause - fighting slavery.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to, hopefully, inform some of you about the growing number of organizations which seem to be supporting causes, when the actual benefit to the cause will be far less than it appears.

Mission 14 is getting blasted on MP because we all see the laughable nature of the mission plan and have, at least, an arm-chair appreciation for the risk the Sherpas will make and the impact on a sport we all love. But non-climbers will not see what we see, and many will support Mission 14 due to their limited understanding of the realities of responding to HT.

It is very unfortunate that some will exploit others' suffering for a mere athletic expedition. Thanks for reading.

Tom-onator · · trollfreesociety · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 790
John Vanek wrote:Exploiting the Exploited. I'm 54 and like trad, alpine, ice climbing when I can. I love long moderate climbs, and consider myself technically sound with my mountain craft, though I don't climb at a high level. I hope to travel to the Alps some day to fulfill a childhood dream. That sums up my climbing. I am not an expert climber. I am a retired police lieutenant and have been very active in anti-human trafficking efforts since 2006. I have sat on a number of national-level advisory boards, and now consult on human trafficking responses. My clients include the U.S. Department of Justice, United State Attorney's Office, and a variety of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). I am much more of an expert on human trafficking than climbing. Since federal law defined trafficking in 2000, many individuals and organizations have appeared in the anti-trafficking community who do not investigate cases or provide direct services to victims. Some of these organizations and individuals have raised A LOT of money, often because most people don't understand the complexity of human trafficking and the even more complex response to slavery. This lack of knowledge allows, sometimes, for self-promoters to enter the anti-HT space and make money. Money which could otherwise go to directly supporting victims of trafficking, or building the collaborative responses needed to prevent trafficking. Trafficking is an immensely popular topic, and Mission 14 seems to me to be much more about the "mission" than making a dent in trafficking. When a person or an organization uses the plight of slaves, exploited children, or other social issues like poverty to promote their own agenda, we call that exploiting the exploited. Mission 14 is not the first, nor will they be the last. But just going by the description of the plan to ascend all 8,000ers - and if the budget is secured - it will probably be the largest amount of money spent to do "something" to fight HT, with very little direct benefit to the victims. This is shameful. Much could be accomplished in Baltimore and Managua with the funds that will be spent on the expedition. And the amount of money that can be raised by telling the story of Mission 14 is reduced by travel and production fees, and a lot of other costs. So revenue from the story will not equal the lesser amount which will go to the real cause - fighting slavery. Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to, hopefully, inform some of you about the growing number of organizations which seem to be supporting causes, when the actual benefit to the cause will be far less than it appears. Mission 14 is getting blasted on MP because we all see the laughable nature of the mission plan and have, at least, an arm-chair appreciation for the risk the Sherpas will make and the impact on a sport we all love. But non-climbers will not see what we see, and many will support Mission 14 due to their limited understanding of the realities of responding to HT. It is very unfortunate that some will exploit others' suffering for a mere athletic expedition. Thanks for reading.
John,
No objections to a long post that provides a professional perspective.

Thank you for peeling back yet another layer of this farcical endeavor.
ErikaNW · · Golden, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 145

John - that is a valuable and informative perspective. I wonder how UA would respond if you were to write them with that viewpoint? Or if they would even care.... They are probably getting the exposure/advertising they want. This particular exploitation seems even more thinly veiled than most.....

John Vanek · · Gardnerville, NV · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0

Thanks for the supportive replies.

I'm doing a little vetting through anti-trafficking colleagues, and I'll post here whatever (if anything) I learn. Usually I spend my time explaining the complexities of human trafficking - now I'll have to explain to non-climbers some of the intricacies of climbing 8,000m peaks, and the shear improbability of what Mission 14 is attempting.

I will be in touch.

John

NC Rock Climber · · The Oven, AKA Phoenix · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 60

Good on you, John. Thank you for your great post. I will look forward to your following posts. I am going to write a few of his sponsors and express my concerns. I think I will also leave a comment on the Mission 14 Facebook page. You phrased it very well; This truly is exploiting the exploited, and I would very much like to see the money that Nick wants to spend on this atrocity of an expedition go directly to kids in need.

SumX Attwood · · Lakewood CO · Joined May 2013 · Points: 10

Apparently he has done Kilimanjaro and the Tough Mudder. Is that all it takes to score a huge sponsorship? #thisisbullshit

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,476

Has this guy done any of the routes yet, or is this just another F@$king Brotherhood of the Traveling Stopper???!!!!

Ray Pinpillage · · West Egg · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 180
Stich wrote:Has this guy done any of the routes yet, or is this just another F@$king Brotherhood of the Traveling Stopper???!!!!
Brotherhood of the traveling sherpa team.
John Vanek · · Gardnerville, NV · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0

This is the follow-up post I promised, regarding my efforts to see if any of my professional anti-trafficking colleagues were aware of Mission 14. The answer is no.

Since 2006 I've been on a listserv for law enforcement, victim-services providers and other involved in anti-trafficking work. It was initially created for members of federally-funded anti-trafficking task forces. There is no single source to access people knowledgeable on anti-trafficking better than this listserv.

I only received one reply, and that was from a woman on the east coast who is VERY switched on; she was not aware of Mission 14 and voiced her concern that this was another self-promotion project wrapped in anti-trafficking efforts. I received no other comments to my inquiry.

This does not mean Mission 14 isn't assisting the organizations they claim to be supporting, only that the people I have access to via the listserve have not heard about M14 or the organizations they support.

Over the years I have lost count of the organizations that have approached me, or that I have become aware of, that promised great things in the response to slavery, and most of these organizations fail - for a variety of reasons.

So, for what it is worth, if anyone on MP desires to donate to a group doing anti-trafficking work I believe there are better organizations out there.

And, as everyone on this thread has already observed, the mission of M14 is laughable for all the reasons posted. Well, it would be laughable if M14 was not playing of the plight of the enslaved and exploited.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,187

Thanks for the follow up John. I am not surprised that folks had not heard of M14 and maybe not so surprised that no one had heard of either the Orphan Network or the Araminta Freedom Initiative. They seem to be small local organizations. So unless someone on the list server was in the Greater Potomac River area they are just one of many such orgs. Which does not mean these organizations are not doing good things.

I hope you will followup with some thoughts like I did to the CEOs of UnderAmour and Cocona.

Buff Johnson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 1,145

If they were raising money for something like the Red Cross or Crescent, I wouldn't even have a concern, the money goes somewhere to do some good; every expedition is a full out peak baggers ego fest.

But the point of creating another "activist" movie clip at a beer drinkers film fest, and all I can think is that the potato gun is a good thing for such an event.

Alan Brock · · Cleveland, TN · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 35
Kilroywashere! wrote:why didnt they just use awolnation and get it over with...
This wins the internet today.
NC Rock Climber · · The Oven, AKA Phoenix · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 60

Over the weekend I took a look at Mission 14s Facebook page. Someone had posted a link to this forum thread. I liked the link. When I went back last night, the link had been deleted. I posted the link and quoted John's comments. The deleted my post too. Apparently, Nick and the Mission 14 team have no interest in addressing the public's concerns that spending $5.6M climbing in Asia might not be the best way to help slaves and exploited children.

facebook.com/14Summits

D Stevenson · · Escalange, UT · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 25
NC Rock Climber wrote:Over the weekend I took a look at Mission 14s Facebook page. Someone had posted a link to this forum thread. I liked the link. When I went back last night, the link had been deleted. I posted the link and quoted John's comments. The deleted my post too. Apparently, Nick and the Mission 14 team have no interest in addressing the public's concerns that spending $5.6M climbing in Asia might not be the best way to help slaves and exploited children. facebook.com/14Summits
Let's keep posting. Even if they keep deleting, it'll be harder and harder to ignore, and maybe other people reading the page will come here to get the real scoop.
NC Rock Climber · · The Oven, AKA Phoenix · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 60

I would like to keep posting. Unfortunately, they have blocked me. I hope that you and other MP.com users that share my concerns over Mission 14 will keep the pressure on them to explain how spending 5.6M climbing in Asia benefits children in Central America and Baltimore.

D Stevenson · · Escalange, UT · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 25
NC Rock Climber wrote:I would like to keep posting. Unfortunately, they have blocked me. I hope that you and other MP.com users that share my concerns over Mission 14 will keep the pressure on them to explain how spending 5.6M climbing in Asia benefits children in Central America and Baltimore.
My post is surprisingly still up. Keep posting. I'm not on twitter,and not sure if they are, but maybe use their hash tags to spread the real word?

I don't think they'd be able to block that, and anyone searching on the hashtag will see our posts.
ze dirtbag · · Tahoe · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 50

he should take some other under armor ambassadors with him......i'd chip in a buck or 2 if he took shaq and warren sapp to commentate. if you're gonna buy the summits, at least make it interesting

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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