PORTLAND, Ore. -- Larry Middleman looks forward to the times he can take to the outdoor trails in search of a mountain to scale.
"I have an innate desire to get to the highest point and just scan the horizon," said Middleman, CEO of CU Business Group, a member business services CUSO. "When you get to the top, you hear total silence."
Middleman has reached new heights, literally, during his numerous treks to mountaintops in the western United States. He has been to the peak of Mt. San Jacinto in California with an elevation of 10,834 feet, and the South Sister in Oregon at 10,358 feet. While in Arizona, he regularly climbs Camelback Mountain at a height of 2,704 feet, and Squaw Peak at 2,608 feet.
Middleman said one of his toughest treks took him to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and back out, in only two days. From the South Rim to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is a 4,620-foot drop in elevation.
"Of course the climb back to the top doubles that figure," Middleman said.
While these are solid accomplishments, the pinnacle of his climbing efforts took him to the top of Mount St. Helens in Washington at 8,366 feet.
"Being right there on the rim of an active volcano is almost surreal," Middleman recalled. "On the precipice if you walk 10 feet backwards you're on your way down the mountain. If you walk ten feet forward you're off the edge into the volcano's crater. It's quite a perspective from one of the most unique places in the world."
Middleman said he does not use ropes or technical climbing gear, but prefers a steep hike, or a scramble climb through rocks.
"I thoroughly enjoy the exercise, fresh air and views, but I'm not into hanging by ropes off the side of a mountain."
When asked what his next climb might be, Middleman said that it might be a big one.
"I'm fascinated by Mt. Everest--but the top, at over 29,000 feet, it's a bit out of my league. I'm thinking that reaching Base Camp I at 17,000 feet may be the apex of my climbing adventures." --firstname.lastname@example.org