Gerecke and fellow-climber Jordan Duncan will brave Mexico's highest peaks, the 18,410-foot Mount Orizaba and the 17,158-foot Ixtacihuatl, also known as Mount Ixta, as participants of the 2009 Summit for Someone, a fundraising series for the Big City Mountaineers charity organization.
Both hope to raise at least $7,500 each for this year's series, which will go directly to Big City Mountaineers' summer programs to fund an eight-day wilderness trip for inner-city teens.
Friday there will be a benefit concert and silent auction to raise money for Gerecke and Duncan. Local up-and-coming musicians Aaron Picar, Ryan Corn and Jonathan Poston will perform at the event. Picar will also be releasing his debut CD, "Rise Together." The event starts at 7 p.m. at Grace Cafe, and the cost is $5.
Big City Mountaineers is the largest not-for-profit organization in the country devoted to working exclusively with teens who would otherwise not have had these opportunities to experience camping in nature.
"They work with several different organizations to find the kids with a need for something like this. Up until this point, they have not really had to challenge themselves. Big City Mountaineers will take them out and challenge them and provide them with life experience," Gerecke said. "To me, that's the best part of it all. Kids will have those positive experiences in their life."
Summit for Someone is the organization's primary fundraising event, with each climber raising between $2,900 and $7,500 to go on a fully-guided mountaineering trip on some of North America's most popular peaks. Fundraising efforts by each climber allow inner-city youths to experience the wonder of the wilderness for themselves.
"I'm glad the kids are outdoors and enjoying the outdoors, because that's what I love," Gerecke said.
Gerecke's love for the outdoors and mountain climbing drew him to sign up for the fundraising series last year.
"I could help out kids while doing something I enjoy," he said. "For me, that was kind of a no brainer."
Gerecke climbed to the 14,162-foot peak of Mount Shasta in Northern California, his first time to climb mountaineering style.
"I had to get used to the crampons [boot spikes] and the cold. And of course, the altitude. You start having headaches, belly gets queasy, and the higher you get, the worse it gets. One guy didn't make it because he got altitude sickness," he said. "The experience was awesome, it was just really cold. At one point on the mountain it was negative 14 degrees with the wind chill."
The summit may have been a challenge for Gerecke, but the $3,300 he raised went to support inner-city teens overcome a lifetime of challenges by getting them out of their environment and into the wild for a weeklong guided trip with positive role models.
"After climbing for them last year I realized more what the organization was all about. I love to see that kids will be able to experience the outdoors and not just experience them, but in the atmosphere they get to experience them in, with the positive role models," Gerecke said. "Possibly that experience will alter the course of their life."
The 2009 Summit for Someone climb series will feature more than 250 participants climbing on 17 peaks in North America between May and September. For more information, visit www.summitforsomeone.org.
WANT TO GO?
* What: Summit for Someone benefit concert and silent auction
* Where: Grace Cafe
* When: 7 p.m. Friday