So far, he has raised $43,290 of his $290,029 goal (a symbolic number that is almost 10 times the height of Mount Everest) on Go Fund Me from 58 donors over the past eight months. Of that amount, $100,000 would cover expenses for prerequisite climbs and Everest while anything above that goes to charity. He needs at least $40,000 more than he has raised to make the Everest climb in April, he said.
His contingency plan is to push his Everest climb to August to allow more time for fundraising, but an off-season climb comes with a different set of risks.
“With certain mountains, you have a window where the weather is more predictable and stable,” Middleton said. The majority of people who climb Mount Everest do so between April and June. Moving outside of that range can mean more snow and weather at least 20 degrees colder than normal.
Middleton found guides that operate in the off season, and he has now introduced the potential for colder weather and snow into his training.
He had a taste of what climbing in those conditions would be like during his 16-day sojourn on Aconcagua. He and five other climbers experienced temperatures of minus 40 degrees and winds at 70 mph. The weather conditions forced them to remain an additional day at base camp, he said.
At 20,000 feet, they faced 40-50 percent oxygen, 50 mph winds and temperatures near minus five degrees. The following day, they woke up in the early morning hours and began climbing at 5 a.m. By early afternoon, Middleton and the three remaining climbers made it to the top.
After returning from Argentina, Jermaine Middleton, 31, of Austell, headed to Ouray, Colorado, for ice climbing. Middleton has been training to climb Mount Everest in the hopes of becoming the first American-born black man to scale the highest peak above sea level. CONTRIBUTED BY JERMAINE MIDDLETON
“I feel like it has helped better prepare me for Everest,” said Middleton, who upon returning to the States, immediately headed for Ouray, Colorado, to do some ice climbing and ended up encountering a winter storm.
Now back in metro Atlanta, Middleton is training 100 percent for Everest — running, maybe doing an Ironman and possibly climbing Mount Rainier — whether his moment on Everest comes in two weeks or five months.