Finlandia dean going climbing in California

Jan 24, 2013

HANCOCK, MI (AP)--   A Finlandia University official is training to reach the 14,500-foot summit of Mount Whitney. 

Christine O'Neil

Christine O'Neil will join about 60 other climbers in April on the trek up the California mountain that boasts the tallest peak in the contiguous 48 states. The climb is a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization working with under-served urban youth to instill life skills.

O'Neil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of sociology, tells The Daily Mining Gazette of Houghton she considers herself an "avid outdoorsman," but remains "a little concerned about the altitude."

O'Neil's 16-week training regimen includes cross training and cardiovascular exercises. The training also involves carrying weights in a backpack, starting at 20 pounds and working up to 50 pounds for 10 hours at a time.