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Ex-Husky Mark Pattison Begins his Quest to Tackle Mount Everest

The former UW and NFL wide receiver is one step away from reaching the top of the world's Seven Summits.
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Mark Pattison, the former University of Washington and NFL football player turned mountain climber, is off to the Himalayas.

On Tuesday night, he left Sun Valley, Idaho, for what could be two months of intense mountaineering in Asia to navigate one of the world's biggest challenges. 

Rather than hold up four fourth-quarter fingers, the one-time Husky wide receiver has seven raised high for this adventure.

Pattison will attempt to reach the top of 29,029-foot Mount Everest, which rests on the Chinese-Nepalese border, ranks as the highest peak on the planet and for this climber will the last of the Seven Summits to conquer.

At the top, he'll find himself standing higher than the flight patterns of a lot of jetliners. It's a dangerous journey in which the weather can change in an instant and has claimed more than 300 lives.

"The cool thing is no one knows how this will all play out," Pattison said before departing on a four-day trip to get there.

Mark Pattison models his mountain-climbing suit.

Mark Pattison models his climbing gear.

NFL Films will follow the progress of the former player for the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Raiders and the Los Angeles Rams by producing  documentary.

"We're honored to share his inspiring story as par of our Life After Football series," said Mike Derouin, NFL Media coordinating producer.

Shortly thereafter, Pattison will attempt to ascend nearby 27,940-foot Lhotse, the fourth-highest peak globally, partially descending Everest, crossing a mountain saddle and going back up, all in 24 hours.

The 59-year-old Pattison is attempting to become the oldest person to scale both Mount Everest and Lhotse within 24 hours of each other, something done by only a handful of people.

He also hopes to become the second NFL player to set foot atop Everest and complete the Seven Summits, joining Craig Hanneman, a 1970s defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots. 

Part of the reason that Pattison turned to climbing the world's tallest mountains beginning a decade ago is his competitive nature.

He caught last-minute, game-deciding touchdown passes against Michigan and Oklahoma in his UW career, so he's always been in the middle of the action.

He's taking on Everest as part of a fund-raiser to combat epilepsy, which afflicts 1 in 26 people, and that includes his daughter Emilia, 22, currently a student at the University of Arizona.

"Her journey to overcome epilepsy and live her life to the fullest has been 10 times harder than anything I have ever done," Pattison said.

Those who wish to donate to the former Husky's alpine efforts to benefit epilepsy can do so right here through Higher Ground. We'll be providing updates of his Everest and Lhotse expeditions, and you can follow Mark's reports from the Himalayas here.

Pattison's Everest quest originally was set to to place a year ago, but the pandemic scuttled his plans. There's no holding him back now. 

Follow Dan Raley of Husky Maven on Twitter: @DanRaley1 and @HuskyMaven

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