For Kyle Gerecke and Jordan Duncan, the reasons to climb a mountain go far beyond "because it's there."
As part of Summit for Someone, Gerecke and Duncan will be taking on the climbs of Mount Orizaba and Ixtacihuatl, also known as Mount Ixta, which are Mexico's highest peaks at 18,410 feet and 17,158 feet respectively.
The reason to climb for these men is to raise funds for Big City Mountaineers, a charity organization that takes inner city children camping and on nature trips.
Today, Gerecke and friend and supporter Aaron Picar will hold a fundraiser to help Gerecke achieve his pledge amount of $7,500 by selling their original photographic artwork. The one-night show is from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Crowe Gallery in Cape Girardeau, and will be featured as part of First Friday.
The men have hung photographs of local areas as well as places from around the world.
"I shoot what I see," Picar said. "We've captured some of the places we've been, and it's a real hodgepodge of everything."
Picar won't be summiting the mountains with Duncan and Gerecke. For him, the exhibit/fundraiser is an extension of his career. Picar teaches special education in Jackson. He said it is only natural for him to support an organization that helps children.
"When Kyle climbed Mount Shasta a couple of years ago, I thought that was really cool," Picar said. "With them doing this again, I wanted to help out."
Organizing the exhibit is one way he was able to help.
"We believe in the power of art to inspire hope," Picar said.
He said a photograph can be more than just a pretty picture. It can also be a way to address human issues like slavery, AIDS and hunger.
"We can use our talents to bring about changes," Picar said. "I want people who encounter me, my photography and my music to see a bit of themselves, but I want them to see beyond that, to something greater."
The Summit for Someone is a climb that benefits at-risk teens in inner cities.
"Most underprivileged teens today have never had the feeling the outdoors brings; today when they are faced with a challenge they take the simple way out or even perhaps avoid the challenge all together," Gerecke said on the event's website, www.summitforsomeone.org.
"At first, when they are faced with a challenge in the outdoors they may say 'I can't' or 'I won't.' However, with the encouragement and teamwork Big City Mountaineers invests in these teens, those answers soon turn to 'I can' and 'I did.'"
Gerecke said his hope is that by getting support for the Summit for Someone event, he can help others to see that they are not only helping children experience something outside their city but also helping children get educated about world events.
In addition to the Crowe Gallery showing Friday, Gerecke hopes to hold another fundraiser called "Marathon of Steps" again this year on the Common Pleas Courthouse stairs.
"Last year, we climbed the courthouse steps for 16 hours, which was equivalent to around 29,000 feet of vertical climbing," he said. "Basically we summitted Mount Everest in downtown Cape."
People who want to donate but are unable to attend the exhibit can visit www.summitforsomeone.org, click the "donate" button, click on Gerecke's name and donate on his page.