Teens Reach New Heights with Altitude 14,505

This summer, ten teenagers embarked on a 75+ mile backpacking adventure through California backcountry to summit Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous United States. Formerly known as DYF Takes Mount Whitney, Altitude 14,505 has been offered biennially since 1998. The mission of the program—to inspire and reassure those with type 1 diabetes that no experience or adventure is “off limits.”

Fiona, Annabel, Justin, Liam, Ayla, Marina, Coleman, Marcella, Zachary, and Jasmine trained for months before stepping foot on the trail, participating in strict training regimens and reaching mandatory benchmarks in preparation of the varied terrain of the excursion. On July 25th, the teens met at Bearskin Meadow Camp in the Sequoia National Forest to make their final preparations. They were joined by Dr. Lisa Norlander, who served as Medical Staff, counselors Leah Cohen and Jim Schuler, and Calvin, a professional Guide from Sierra Mountain Center. On July 28, the group strapped on their packs and departed from Lodgepole for nine days of challenges, bonding, and experiences to last a lifetime. 

“This trip showed me that diabetes won’t stop you from doing anything–you can persevere and do anything you set your mind to.” – Ayla, Altitude 14,505 participant

In their close-knit backpacking group, the Altitude 14,505 participants waded through dozens of water crossings, slept under the stars, and managed their diabetes under exceptional circumstances. The trip served as a crash course in teamwork, self-reliance, responsibility, and perseverance. Altitude 14,505 instilled in its participants an immense, new-found confidence that they can carry as they face any challenge that lays ahead.


We’d like to thank Dexcom for being a community sponsor of 2019’s Altitude 14,505 excursion; Clif Bar, for providing sustenance throughout the trip; and Fashion Streaks, for donating branded t-shirts.

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