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Senior Spotlight: Sherman Bynum

Mt. St. Helens

Current Camas High School (CHS) senior, Sherman Bynum, has large aspirations for his post-high school years. Planning on taking a gap year following graduation, Bynum will travel to Nepal in March of 2025, where he hopes to complete a successful Everest summit.  

Bynum atop Mt. St. Helens

Bynum first began mountain climbing shortly after moving from Indiana to Washington in 2018. He took the move as an opportunity to finally learn more about mountaineering; having grown an interest in the sport when he saw Mt. Hood for the first time with his grandmother at Timberline Lodge.

“I did a lot of research that fall and looked at what mountain climbing was all about. And through a couple of tried and failed attempts, I finally found a way to get out,” Bynum said. 

While Bynum has been practicing and improving since he first began climbing in 2018, the Everest endeavor will have its own set of unique challenges and difficulties; he will have to train for them specifically before arriving at Island Peak—the Mount Everest base camp—in March. 

Everest is nearly 30,000 feet tall—by far one of the most challenging components of the climb. 

Bynum training for Mt. Everest with the mask that mimics lower oxygen levels

“Getting myself fit enough to do the actual climb in one thing. And then getting myself fit enough to do the climb with almost a third of the oxygen we have down here is just a totally separate beast,” Bynum said. 

To prepare for this, Bynum has been working out and sleeping in a mask which mimics the oxygen levels of highly elevated locations. It is currently set to 18,000 feet, a number which will be slowly increased in the months leading up to the expedition. 

Technical abilities are also at the forefront of his training. Fixed lines, ladder crossings, and near vertical climbing all demand extreme levels of skill and are commonplace throughout the Everest trek. 

Bynums’ guide on the trip is Kami Rita Sherpa—the world renowned Everest climber who currently holds the record for the most successful number of Everest summits in the world. Bynum first got into contact with Rita Sherpa after direct-messaging him on social media platforms and has stayed in contact ever since, planning timelines, training strategies, and the future trek itself. 

To fund Rita Sherpa’s involvement in the expedition, the cost of supplies and other expenses, Bynum created a GoFundMe ( and partnered with the non-profit organization, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. He plans to become one of their official endurance athletes sometime in the near future. 

Bynum is also hopeful that his involvement with The Michael J. Fox Foundation will garner him additional attention from other organizations like North Face and Columbia. These possible sponsorships would enable him to go on other expeditions like that of Denali in Alaska—Bynum’s next big mountaineering ambition after Everest. 

As excited as Bynum is about this climb, he also acknowledges the potential danger involved, and plans to prioritize safety above all else when making his summit attempt. 

“In mountaineering you have to follow the principle that climbing is optional but coming home is mandatory,” he said.

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Isabella Ricci
Isabella Ricci, Staff Writer

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