Ridge Merino Team Member Climbs Against the Odds

Ridge Merino Team Member Climbs Against the Odds

Ridge team member Paz Mendelevitch will climb Mt. Shasta — a 14,179-foot peak in Northern California — to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer prevention.

Many of the products we use daily, along with the air we breathe and the water we drink, contain chemicals associated with breast cancer. 
For 30 years, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) has been leading the mission to reduce chemical exposure linked to breast cancer.

Ridge Merino has long supported BCPP’s Climb Against the Odds fundraiser on Mt. Shasta by providing Merino wool base layers to participants, and we have contributed to the organization through our partnership with 1% For The Planet. We share the belief that natural is better – for all of us and for the planet.

We’re happy to share that this year our very own Marketing Manager, Paz Mendelevitch, will be participating in the Climb Against The Odds and raising $6,000 for BCPP. Paz has long managed the Ridge partnership with BCPP, so we’re excited for him to participate in the climb for the first time this June.

In this annual event, 26 people hike and mountaineer up Mt. Shasta — a 14,179-foot peak in Northern California — to raise funds and awareness for BCPP.

“The work BCPP does is so important, and we’re always inspired by the Climb Against The Odds,” said Jeff Russell, CEO of Ridge Merino. “It’s even more meaningful having a member of our team participating.”

“One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. What if you could do something to change the odds?” - Breast Cancer Prevention Partners

Why Climb Against the Odds?

The climb is more than just a physical challenge; it's a collective effort toward breast cancer prevention. Participants come from all walks of life, some with mountaineering experience and others with none, with the shared goal of raising funds and awareness and a hope to reach the summit.

Paz joins this year’s Climb Against the Odds with a personal connection to the cause.

“They say everybody knows someone who’s been affected by breast cancer, and that’s true. I’ve had several friends and family members who have been affected by this terrible disease,” he said.

How This Mt. Shasta Summit Attempt Works

Paz isn’t new to mountaineering or to the difficulty and scale of Mt. Shasta. Living just seven hours south of this 14er, he has made it to the summit a few times via splitboard (the snowboarding equivalent of backcountry touring skis). But this climb will be different – it’s mountaineering rather than splitboarding, and he’ll be part of a much bigger group with a shared mission.

The climb is an intense three-day journey with participants camping two nights above the treeline. Participants will be split into smaller groups, and each group will try to make it to the summit. They’ll be taking one of the main climbing routes: Avalanche Gulch from Bunny Flats, then meandering up to Red Banks and Misery Hill before they reach the summit.

The journey is about more than just getting to the top of the mountain. It’s a reflective time for participants and the people who support them. As part of the climb, participants carry prayer flags bearing the names of those affected by breast cancer, symbolizing the broader community’s support and solidarity.

How Paz Is Preparing for the Climb

Those who know Paz know he spends a ton of time being active in the mountains, so training for this climb fits easily into his life. And with his two high-energy huskies, Paz can’t just sit around. To get ready for the climb, he’s been running, mountain biking and getting in as much spring touring on his splitboard as possible. On the less fun training side, he fills his backpack up with full water bottles for hikes so he can train with weight.

He also focuses on maintaining a clean, healthy lifestyle whether he’s training or not. His awareness of chemicals in his own life started when he got into organic, healthy food. Then he learned about chemicals in shampoos and PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, AKA “forever chemicals”).

“I thought, what else is there?” he said. As it turns out, chemicals are everywhere: in our food, the air, our oceans, even the clothes we wear. “It’s cool to work for a company that uses natural fibers and no chemical additives in our manufacturing process. It’s a great, seamless partnership Ridge has established with BCPP in support of its mission.”

The weather on Mt. Shasta in June can be unpredictable and change quickly. Nights at high altitude are cold, so good layers are a must. In past years, bad weather has cut the effort short. To set everyone up for success, we make sure all participants have Aspect base layers for the ascent. Paz tends to run warm when hiking, so he anticipates he’ll wear his Aspect layers in the early morning hours before switching to his Pursuit Ultralight Hoodie midday.

“The right gear makes a huge difference,” he said. “When you’re trying for a summit, you need clothes that keep you comfortable and dry.”

How You Can Support the Cause

If Paz’s climb and the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners mission is meaningful to you too, we invite you to support his fundraiser – all participants have a minimum $6,000 fundraising goal for BCPP. Every dollar raised goes directly to BCPP to support its programs.

Sharing his fundraiser with others who may be interested in donating is helpful too. Additionally, Ridge will match all funds donated to this effort, doubling the impact of your contribution.

You can track Paz and the whole Climb Against the Odds team June 10-14. We’ll share the link to the live tracker on this post once it’s available.

“Everyone on this trip is going out of their way to do this really hard thing,” Paz said. “To take the time to train, educate, fundraise and put themselves through the climb. I’m excited to experience the stoke of being there in person. It’ll be cool to get to be a part of that.”

His commitment to this climb exemplifies the kind of guy Paz is. We’re proud to support him in his Climb Against the Odds this year.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published