Date: May 20-24, 2023

Ichthyosis Awareness Month Rim to Rim Event

May 20 - 24, 2023

(Saturday through Wednesday)

Andrew Buerger was a Keynote Speaker at FIRST's National Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. Since 2007, his organization, Climb For Hope has taken over 250 people safely up summits around the world, raising approximately $750,000 for early stage research. Our trips have grown into transformational experiences for people affected by disease, as well as their friends, and family. They view their funding as “angel investing” for many causes which support early stage research — something researchers often struggle to find funding for. 

One of his key messages is to “carry a flag.”  Adventure with a purpose.  Raising important funds and awareness through a bucket list challenge.  Andy has graciously offered to include FIRST in this fundraising effort for participants from our community.

We are looking for several affected individuals (supporters are also welcomed) to participate in an endurance-type of event that will be very motivational and inspiring for our ichthyosis community.  Raising funds would be great, too, so we are beginning to plan this wonderful event. If you'd like to participate, please send an email to Denise Gass as soon as you can. If you cannot participate in the hike, there will be an opportunity to donate!

Second option, only do half (North to South the second day).  These participants would drive in the shuttle with the people that set up the tents and meet everyone at the north rim.  They would hike the second (easier) day. 

The Details:                           Informational Session with trip details

May 20 – 24 (Sat – Wed)
During Ichthyosis Awareness Month

Important Considerations:

  • The entire distance is about 50 miles with 7,000+ feet elevation up and down.
  • Expect stretches of direct sun and high temps for hours
  • Camping at night can get down to 30 degrees
  • One guide will stay at the front of the group and one to the back – no one goes it alone!
  • The journey is strenuous and physical training is necessary preparation
  • You may opt to hike both days (rim-to-rim-to-rim) or just the second day (rim-to-rim)


A full gear list available on request. Some gear can be borrowed, and there are discounts available for purchasing some items.


Choose from the following, based on what suits your schedule and preferences:

  • New Alpinism
  • Marathon training
  • HIIT
  • Sauna can augment training and help build heat tolerance in a controlled environment






This will be an unforgettable Ichthyosis Awareness Month event! As part of #IAM, all participants must raise funds of $3,000 or more. Of the amount you raise, about $1,000 will go to guides, meals, lodging/tent camping, and ground transit.


  • DAY 1: May 20 - Fly into Phoenix, please arrive by noon. Drive to South Rim together in expedition van (6 hrs)
    • Camp at Mather Campground in the Grand Canyon Village
    • Evening gear check, group introductions, team motivations and prepare for hike.
  • DAY 2: May 21
    • Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim Group: Early wake up and start down 3,500 feet via the Bright Angel Trail. After crossing the Colorado River and having lunch at Phantom Ranch, we'll test our personal limits and complete the 23 mile hike by ascending 4,000 feet to the North Rim.
    • Rim-to-Rim Group: has a relaxed morning exploring the South Rim, drive 4 hours to North Rim, assists in setting up camp.
    • Group convenes at the North Rim Campground for the night, dinner provided!
  • DAY 3: May 22
    • All team members wake early to cross the North to South Rim.  We'll descend from the North Rim via the North Kaibab Trail. The hike is 14.3 miles and 6,000 feet to the bottom of the canyon before connecting with the Bright Angel Trail and climbing 4,500 feet and 9.6 miles back out again to the South Rim. Camp again at Mather Campground
  • DAY 4: May 23
    • Wake up at your leisure, the team will enjoy a big breakfast to recover, sharing stories of what we just endured. Tour more of the South Rim if you would like.
    • Depart the South Rim for Phoenix, AZ around 2 pm (4.5 hour drive) Dinner and closing ceremony
  • DAY 5: May 24
    • Depart for home

READY TO COMMIT? Click here and go to + Fundraise

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