Man chosen to participate in Mt. Whitney climb - WNEM TV 5

Man chosen to participate in Mt. Whitney climb

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

A local man won the chance of a lifetime to strap on his boots and head out west to climb a mountain.

Mt. Whitney is a popular destination for hikers across the country. It's located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in California.

"I was pretty excited to get the email and I told all my coworkers and they were pretty excited too," said Matt Itoney, contest winner.

Itoney went online and entered the lottery process to climb Mt. Whitney. It is the highest peak in the lower 48 states. The chances of being selected to climb it are relatively low.

"I do feel pretty lucky. I saw some of the stats and it was like out of 15,000 people that applied. I was in the 15 percent that got selected," Itoney said.

He said his interest in hiking first sparked when he took a trip to Nevada.

"I first went to Nevada and did some hiking in Las Vegas. And that's how I got interested in doing it," he said.

While the adventure won't be his first, Itoney said he is still preparing as much as possible for what's to come.

"I've been doing a lot of reading and research and one of the things I'm gonna use before I go there is a weighted vest and increase the weight on it. And visiting the gym three to four days a week, using the stair stepper with the weighted vest," Itoney said.

He said he is going to be leaving work at St. Mary's Hospital in Saginaw a week early to make it to California in time for the hike, which starts on June 16.

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