Hike in OMSP to raise money for Nepal earthquake victims

The Seven Summits Hike for Nepal on June 6 will raise money for victims of the earthquake in late April. (File)

The Seven Summits Hike for Nepal on June 6 will raise money for victims of the earthquake in late April. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

When a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, Birmingham resident Kent Stewart was there. Stewart was at base camp on Mt. Everest, about to scale the seventh peak of the Seven Summits climb.

“We ran out of the tent and saw the avalanche coming down, coming toward us,” Stewart said. “Base camp has always been the safest place to be, this year it was the most dangerous place to be… I got really lucky.”

The earthquake took more than 8,000 lives, including the lives of 19 climbers, and devastated cities and villages across Nepal.

Stewart safely returned to Birmingham, but after seeing the destruction firsthand, he knew he needed to help, so he organized the Seven Summits Hike for Nepal at Oak Mountain State Park on June 6.

“I wanted to try and raise money for the villages that were destroyed around Mt. Everest,” Stewart said. “There are so many (charity races), but we couldn’t find anybody who had a charity hike.”

Entry to the hike costs $25 for adults, $10 for students and free for children 12 and younger. One hundred percent of the entry cost will be donated to help victims of the earthquake in Nepal.

The hike will begin around 9 a.m., but hikers may arrive and climb at their own pace, Stewart said.

“It’s not a race, so you don’t have to be there at a certain time,” Stewart said. “We want people to just come out and have fun.”

The hike will cover a roughly 2-mile distance up the steepest trail in OMSP. Local hikers often use the trail to train for climbs, but Steward said the trail is not challenging.

“I’ve done that trail probably about 200 times training for Everest,” Stewart said.

A “base camp” will be set up at the entrance to the green trailhead off of Terrace Drive with live music, and free food, refreshments and T-shirts provided by event sponsors.

“The response has been crazy good,” Stewart said. “I’m really happy about it.”

To sign up for the hike, visit Active.com/pelham-al/other-endurance/seven-summits-hike-for-nepal-2015. Walk up registration is also available at the base camp on hike day, beginning at 8 a.m.