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Delmar man finds himself grappling with fate

Thomas Denham was looking for a little adventure.

After dangling inside of a 30-foot crevasse on Mount Rainier and climbing his way out, he decided that he had finally found what he was looking for and then some.

That was just one part of his weekend in May that included getting his Adirondack 46er Award and marching in the Delmar Memorial Day Parade.

Denham, a managing partner of Careers in Transition, LLC and a Delmar resident, has been an avid hiker for nearly 30 years. He decided it was time to kick it up a notch.

So I turn 40, and I decided I need to take this to the next level," he said. "So I go to the Adirondack Mountain Club Winter Mountaineering School, and that gave me some good skills."

Enjoying his new hobby as a mountaineer, Denham helped raise $4,000 for an organization called Summit For Someone, which is a type of urban Fresh Air program that takes kids on weeklong backpack trips around the country.

For his efforts, Denham was given a guided climb of Oregon's Mount Hood, which rises more than 11,200 feet above sea level. Hood is the highest mountain in Oregon, so eyeing Mount Rainier's even taller white summit from his lofty vantage point, Denham naturally figured it was time to climb Washington's highest mountain.

"I climb that [Hood] successfully, and in the distance I can see Mount Rainer," Denham said. "After that I come home and I tell my family, 'I'm going to do this.'"

With the blessing of his 9-year-old daughter, who attends Clarksville Elementary and has climbed 47 mountains with him since she was 3, Denham set off on his goal.

"I train like crazy; I'm walking the streets of Delmar with a 60-pound pack on my back and everyone's looking at me," he said. "A police officer even stops me, but didn't ask to see my ID or anything. His exact words were, 'What are you training for?'"

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