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09-01-2015

Clarkson University Alumni Organize Community Hike of All 46 Adirondack High Peaks for Suicide Prevention

Two Clarkson University graduates hope to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention this summer through a community hike of all 46 High Peaks of New York's Adirondack Mountains and beyond.

46 ClimbsKolby Ziemendorf '14 of Penfield, N.Y., and Catherine Zarnofsky '14 of Glenville, N.Y., last year set out to climb all 46 High Peaks during National Suicide Prevention Week to symbolize the challenges of conquering depression and suicide. They were set back by a bear and bad weather, but raised $14,500 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

This year, Ziemendorf said, 46 Climbs has grown into a national event beyond the Adirondacks. Dozens of first-timers and experienced hikers from across the United States will show their support for suicide prevention by climbing mountains anywhere during National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 5 to 13.

"It is a platform for other people to do what we did and climb to conquer suicide," he said. "We have climbers from all the way out in California and Washington climbing."

Among the groups signed up to participate in 46 Climbs is the Clarkson University Outing Club (CUOC). CUOC President David P. Desmond '17 of Braintree, Mass., said the club hopes to raise $4,600 independently for the cause from now through National Suicide Prevention Week in Clarkson's Student Center (#15 on the map at http://www.clarkson.edu/about/clarkson_map.pdf).

The club also will attempt to put one member on the summit of all 46 High Peaks.

"CUOC's goal is to put one member on each of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks in honor of Kolby and Catherine's original goal and because that is where we do most of our hiking," Desmond said.

46 Climbs aims to raise $20,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention this year. The organization uses the funds for education, research and helping people in need.

Both Ziemendorf and Zarnofsky have known people touched by depression and suicide. After the suicides of high school classmates and later suicide attempts of friends, Ziemendorf said he developed 46 Climbs in 2014 with the goal of preventing others from suffering.

Clarkson's Shipley Center for Innovation helped provide the alumni with the resources needed to start up the event in 2014. Matt Draper, executive director of the Shipley Center for Innovation, said the center worked with the hikers to assist them with their business model, develop a logo, and provide funding for marketing materials, website and other equipment.

To learn more about 46 Climbs, register a climb or make a donation, visit http://46climbs.com .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Kolby Ziemendorf '14 of Penfield, N.Y. (left), and Catherine Zarnofsky '14 of Glenville, N.Y., set out in 2014 to hike all 46 High Peaks of New York's Adirondack mountains in support of suicide prevention. This year, dozens of hikers across the country are participating climbs during National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 5 to 13.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/46climbs.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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