For the past two decades, mountain climbing has taken Texas resident Scott McCaffrey to four continents and dozens of countries in search of his next challenge.
“From the spectacular vistas of South America to the frozen landscapes of Russia, each trip leaves me in awe of nature,” McCaffrey said. “But there is one mountain that is special – the one that serious climbers always revisit as their ‘happy place’ and that is Denali.”
Sitting in the middle of Alaska and standing over 20,000 feet in altitude, Denali is also known as one of the coldest mountains on the planet. This June McCaffrey and his team will attempt to conquer the mountain in a quest to help support a local non-profit organization attempting to climb their own – Turning Rescues Into Pets (TRIP).
St. Charles Parish residents Dani Hardy, Vicki Johnson-Cain, Candice Lafourcade and Heather Hernandez formed TRIP in 2019 with a mission to help homeless animals get the medical supplies and third party surgeries they need to get healthy and adoptable.
TRIPS’s main goals are to remove animals from homeless situations and shelters, provide medical care, place animals in adoptive homes, provide affordable vaccine and spay/neuter services and provide resources for stray and feral cats.
McCaffrey and his team, in partnership with TRIP, are aiming to raise $20,308 during the three weeks they will be attempting to summit Denali. The amount equates to $1 for every foot of elevation to the summit – 20,308 feet.
“Over the last decade or so I’ve done around six climbs or so that had an aspect to them where we highlighted non-profits,” McCaffrey said. “Anytime I’m climbing one of the bigger mountains, our team usually gets a lot of followers online so it seemed a great way to incorporate something I love and provide some visibility to those causes which I care about. While there are aspects of all these charities which resonate with me, one’s like TRIP are right at the top of the list. As the parent of a rescue myself, I know firsthand the issues these animals face the amount of care and love these organizations provide to animals in need.”
McCaffrey first learned of TRIP through Dodi Vicknair, one of his work associates who lives in St. Charles Parish.
“I meet a lot of people in my travels, and occasionally you find that one or two people that you just hit it off with and she was one of them,” he said. “She would follow me along on some of my climbs in the past, so we became friends on Facebook. As I started getting prepared for this one, I came across a post on Facebook where she was referencing her involvement with TRIP and the light bulb just went off and I had to reach out to see how I could help.”
TRIP President Dani Smith Hardy said all the money raised through the climb this summer will be used to continue TRIP’s mission to support homeless pets in South Louisiana.
“Scott’s generous gift will help us continue to educate, transport and fund medical needs … and simply never having to say ‘no’ to any request for help,” Hardy said. “This opportunity is huge with regard to not only raising money, but also to spreading awareness. Our community and beyond will have front row seats to this amazing journey. We get to climb with him all the while bringing attention to the needs of our homeless pets.”
For more information on Turning Rescues Into Pets (TRIP), visit the organization’s Facebook page or www.RescuesToPets.com.
To follow along on McCaffrey’s journey or to donate to the cause, search “Climbing Denali in support for surmounting another – Turning Rescues Into Pets – TRIP” on Facebook.