August 25, 2017
On August 18th, Andrew ‘Bob’ Harris became the first person with Down syndrome to summit the Grand Teton. Bob departed the Lupine Meadows trailhead, elevation 6732 feet, at 5:30 a.m. Exactly twelve hours later, Andrew was standing on the summit of the highest peak in Grand Teton National Park at 13,776 feet. Most parties that attempt the summit, experienced or with a guide, usually do it over the course of three days and two nights. Andrew free-climbed the entire route with no fixed lines or mechanical advantage in less time.
Andrew is a member of our NDSS Athlete Ambassador Team-#TeamNDSS. As part of the National Inclusive Health & Sports Program, #TeamNDSS is comprised of individuals from around the country and athletes in various sports including runners, triathletes, cyclists, weightlifters and climbers. Andrew and his brother-inlaw, Max Hammer are currently the only two active climbers.
Andrew is 32 years old. Like any young adult he faces challenges of balancing work and play; tending to life responsibilities while making time to pursue his fitness and climbing goals. He is encouraged and inspired by his family to live an active lifestyle while maintaining a healthy diet for optimum well-being.
“Bob’s summit last week is so much more than one climb to one of the world’s most iconic mountains—it’s about showing the world that people with Down syndrome have their own hopes, dreams and aspirations,” says Sara Hart Weir, president of NDSS. “As the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, our job is to break down all barriers to allow people with Down syndrome to reach their full potential.”
NDSS was pleased to support this incredible endeavor. Members of the NDSS team including Weir, NDSS Chief of Staff Kandi Pickard, NDSS Director of Inclusive Health & Sport Michelle Ray and fellow NDSS Athlete Ambassador Eric Henderson made the trip to Wyoming to witness history and support Bob and his team. You can read more about Andrew’s historical summit, written by Sam Moulton, here!