Maybe the title is a bit of a stretch but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Jim Mora did reach the summit of Mount Rainier Wednesday. The hike, which was designed as a charity event to help raise money for the United Way, featured Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke, among other various media personnel who were along to film and report on all of the exploits.
Ed Viesturs, the only American to ever summit all fourteen mountains over 8000 meters, was designated as the tour guide for Goodell and friends. Mount Rainier, the tallest peak in the Cascade Mountain range, stands at over 14,411 feet tall from sea level. While it’s not K2, it is known as an extensive climb to outdoorsmen all over the world.
Seahawks CEO Todd Leiweke joined KJR AM in Seattleto discuss the climb and how everyone, including the Commissioner, faired on the hike.
Todd was asked who approached him about putting this together:
“Actually, no one approached us. This was kind of the Seahawks inspiration. Jim Mora had a real interest in going up (Mount) Rainier, so the idea just kind of snowballed. We went to the United Way and said ‘we have this idea. We can climb Rainier and plant the flag for the 12th man but also for United Way.’. So the idea kept building. Jim Mora signing up was a huge deal but then getting Commissioner Goodell to come out and join us was just a side of epic.”
On how they convinced Goodell to join them on this hike:
“I ran into him at a league meeting and was telling him about climbing Rainier, and you know, he’s just that kind of guy. He’s predisposed to having those kinds of discussions. I talked to him over the course of a couple of league meetings and low and behold I got an email saying ‘count me in’.”
Todd was asked how Commissioner Goodell faired overall:
“He was just unbelievable. You leave (base camp) at about 12:30 and at about 1:30 we hit our first crevasse. He saw it with the spot light on his helmet and, you know, you’re roped up, you’re in crampons, the seriousness increases substantially in day two. Up to Camp Mir, you’re not in crampons, you’re not roped up, you’re not wearing a helmet. You’re hiking in the day. So there we were at 1:30 (am) and we hit the first crevasse and it was unnerving to him. I think at that point in time he was thinking about stepping off the line and heading back. He decided to keep going. He sort of hit the wall emotionally, but pushed through it. Between 1:30 and 9 when we reached the summit, he hit the wall physically more than once, and to watch him fight through it, and fight through the pain and the inherent sickness, my respect for this guy was just great and now it’s immense. We have a great Commissioner.”