As if having a career as an NFL player wasn't an accomplishment enough, former Raiders wide receiver Mark Pattison is taking on one of the most significant achievements known to man: climbing all seven summits of the world.
Pattison was picked in the NFL draft by the Los Angeles Raiders in 1985 and played amongst some of the most iconic athletes to wear the Silver and Black.
"Are you kidding me, a 22-year old in Manhattan Beach, driving around, living the dream, it was amazing, it was a dream come true," Pattison told Raider Maven.
"[I remember being] in the huddle, Jim Plunkett is the quarterback, Marcus Allen is the running back, Todd Christiensen is the tight end, Henry Lawrence, big Hall of Fame offensive lineman, Cliff Branch is the other receiver….there were all these amazing team players and I literally thought to myself, if I ever died, this is what heaven would be like," Pattison said.
Pattison played five seasons in the NFL before being his career came to an end, but that didn't stop him from finding a new adventure in life to attack.
After going through a rough patch about a decade ago, Pattison said he realized he needed to find something to motivate him and challenge him to keep being a better version of himself.
That challenge was to become the first NFL player to climb all seven summits of the world.
Pattison has completed six of the seven, the last to be Mt. Everest.
"At the time, when I made this goal, no NFL player had done the seven summits. In 2019, this gentleman who played, he's older than me by a decade I believe, actually completed the seven, so last year when Covid hit, I decided to do a major pivot," Pattison said.
Pattison decided to do something only a few dozen people have ever done and climb both Mt. Everest and Lhotse within 24 hours of each other. And he chose to do it for a cause.
"No NFL player has ever done that, I'll be the oldest, and there's only a handful of people who have ever done it, period," Pattison said.
Pattison created "Emilia's Everest and Lhotse Challenge," a campaign to raise money and awareness for epilepsy and those affected by it.
In 2020, Pattison raised over $29,029 (the height of Mt. Everest) for "Emilia's Everest and Lhotse Challenge" to build awareness for the National Epilepsy Foundation. This organization is near and dear to his heart.
Pattison then partnered with Higher Ground to raise $56,972, which represents the heights of Everest and Lhotse combined, and he is doing so to help people who have epilepsy, just like his daughter Emilia.
And the Las Vegas Raiders are partially to thank.
"Shout-out to the Raiders, they were over the top, over the moon generous," Pattison said when talking about the donation from the Las Vegas Raiders. "When I tap back into so many people who have been supportive of this journey, it really warms my heart and helps me to keep pushing through."
Pattison has continuously been pushing through, whether it be training to be a professional athlete or training to climb the world's highest mountains.
Every morning he does a CrossFit class, rides on his Peloton, and practices weight training to make sure his body can handle the stress and challenges Mt. Everest will present.
But it doesn't stop there. Every night, seven days a week, Pattison climbs 3,000 feet up Bald Mountain near his home in Ketchum, Idaho, and skies down. No matter the weather conditions, no matter his exhaustion level, Pattison gets to the top of that peak no matter what.
"When I go to the top [of Everest], the Death Zone, camp four, which is the highest camp, is at 26,000 feet, and the top is at 29,000 feet. So that is up in the jet stream, it gets pretty insane up there," Pattison said.
But he believes that what he has put himself through over the last decade has prepared him for Everest.
"Anybody can climb, but if you don't do it in the right way, then people die, and it's reality. Three percent of people who go climb Mt. Everest this year will die. That's a fact. It happens every year. It won't be me, but that's just what happens," Pattison said.
If you would like to support Mark and donate to "Emilia's Everest and Lhotse Challenge," you can do so here.
You may also visit www.markpattisonnfl.com to learn more about his journey and follow his Everest adventure.