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NFL Star Mark Pattison Reaches Top of the World
Mark Pattison ascends Mount Everest. Courtesy photo
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Sunday, May 30, 2021


Former NFL wide receiver and Ketchum resident Mark Pattison has summited Mount Everest.

With that, Pattison completed his goal of standing atop the world’s Seven Summits. The former Los Angeles Raider and New Orleans Saints player also became the second NFL player ever to climb all Seven Summits.

Pattison summited on May 23 despite being snow blind in one eye.

“With 40-mile per hour winds and becoming snow blind in my left eye, I reached the top of the world,” said Pattison. “This triumphant accomplishment is the result of an overwhelming amount of support and fortitude while never losing sight of the goals.”

In conjunction with his climb, Pattison raised $56,972 for epilepsy awareness through Higher Ground, a national nonprofit organization based in Sun Valley. The NFL Foundation partnered with Higher Ground through Pattison’s work to provide a grant of $5,000 for Emilia’s Everest Challenge.

Emila is Pattison’s 24-year-old daughter Emilia, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 8. She had to leave college because of grand mal seizures.

“We have been incredibly inspired by Mark Pattison's journey to conquer the Seven Summits,” said Kate Dobbie, executive director of Higher Ground. “Not only is it an amazing feat in and of itself, but Mark dedicated his efforts to his daughter's fight with epilepsy and our organization.

“Mark is an incredible advocate for our mission and truly believes in the healing nature of the outdoors. We are so thankful for his continued advocacy and that he brought Higher Ground to the highest ground on earth!”

Pattison had hoped to climb both Mount Everest and nearby Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest peak, within 24 hours of one another. But he had to abandon the Lhotse climb, which would have been a mere bonus, after he became snow blind.

Pattison already had climbed Mt. Kilmanjaro in Tanzania, Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina’s Andes, Mt. Kosciusko in Australia, Denali in Alaska, Mt. Elbrus on the border of Russia and Georgia and Vinson Massif in Antarctica.

Pattison, 59, trained by climbing Baldy every day, working out at Bill Nurge's Hardcore Training Center in Ketchum and climbing local mountains, such as Mount Rainier.

He had hoped to ascend Mount Everest last year but COVID shut down the mountain. He summitted this year despite COVID, which reportedly infected a hundred climbers, including two Icelandic climbers who said they summitted even as they were coughing and feeling fatigued from the effects of COVID.

 “Climbing with passion and a purpose among incredible colleagues has been an amazing experience,” said Pattison. “Summiting Everest was beyond difficult and not without its challenges. Mother Nature is a true force for those even in the best fitness, but my training, purpose and focus made all the difference.” 


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