LOFTY HEIGHTS

Beginning on June 5, reaching the stratospheric peak of Ecuador’s cone-like volcano Cotopaxi will be the challenge facing 19 local climbers who are the next to participate in an annual tradition that began in 1999. For 12 days, the climbers will mount 19,348 feet of alpine forest terrain in the name of Danny Bryant, who as of last month died 11 years ago of a drug overdose.

All the money raised from the climb, “Summit for Danny,” will benefit the Daniel Bryant Youth and Family Treatment Center, which serves teenage kids struggling with alcohol and other drug problems. Danny’s father, local jeweler and philanthropist Bob Bryant, created the Anapamu Street center with wife, Patty, in 2001.

The Bryants say their goal for this trip is to raise more money than past efforts, as they have been challenged by an anonymous donor who promised to provide a matching grant if the target amount was reached. All donations made will go toward purchasing a permanent site for the center.

KEYT is supporting the event by airing daily reports with live feeds via anchorwoman and participant Debby Davison.

The minimum $1,500-donation quest, which includes other traveling costs, will weave through small villages and quaint marketplaces as the travelers make their way up the misty heights of Ecuador’s Andes Mountains. As they continue on, retiring each night in various haciendas, they’ll find themselves on day 8 in the high altitudes of Cotopaxi National Park, amongst alpine lakes, pine forests and all of South America’s visual splendor. Barring setbacks, the adventure will climax on day 10 atop Cotopaxi, the world’s second highest active volcano (Argentina’s Llullaillaco is the tallest).

Each year’s climb has historically received robust support from the cause’s battery of corporate and private sponsors. The inaugural climb, in 1999 to Kenya’s Mount Kilimanjaro (19,335 feet), raised $500,000. Subsequent climbs were to an unnamed Canadian Artic mountain and Peru’s Mount Pisco.

This year’s 19 climbers are: Bob and Patty Bryant, Davison and her fiancé, Dennis Phelps, Susan Keller, Jim and Nori Francis, Sally Arnold, George Burtness, Bob Foster, John Hertzog, Richard Kelliher, Don and Sherry Lafler, Peter MacDougall, Lucy Overgaag, Tokie Shynk, Preston Smith and Eliane Alexandre, owner of Coast Village Road hair salon for the 18 years and one of the climb’s original hikers.

More on the Program

• The center serves young adolescents who are referred by parents, school counselors or by court assignment.

• Therapy sessions are conducted in group treatment, as well as individual and family counseling to help with anger management and decision making.

• Meetings are provided in English and Spanish.

• Random drug tests are performed to provide accountability within the therapeutic process.

• Acupuncture treatments administered by licensed professionals assist in the withdrawal process and are designed to help reduce alcohol and drug cravings.

• Since the opening of the Treatment Center in 2001, more than 800 young people have gone through the programs and the center.

For more info on the Daniel Bryant Youth and Family Treatment Center call 730-7575. Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 28, Santa Barbara, CA, 93102.