Cason Crane, who will be enrolled at Princeton University this fall, has been all over the world, climbing peaks that would make any normal person weary at only twenty years old. He climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with his mother in 2008 at age 15. Since then, he has climbed mountains in the United States, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland, France, and Argentina. He is the founder of the Rainbow Summits Project, which ties together his passion for climbing with his advocacy for the Trevor Project, and organization which seeks to stop suicides in LGBTQ youth. The Rainbow Summits Project hopes to raise awareness and funds by climbing the highest peak on each continent, commonly referred to as “the seven summits”.
Crane told Out Sports, “I’m so lucky to have had such a positive experience and I’m doing this project for kids like this who have had a much tougher time, who deal with this every day, who love sports but are afraid to even go to sports games for fear of being beaten up or called names and that just shouldn’t happen. … He’s way more courageous than I am and it shows true character to do what he does every single day.” Cason will be the first openly gay person to accomplish this feat, in addition to becoming the fifth youngest person ever to climb these mountains.
2. When he reaches a summit, Crane pulls out a rainbow flag to honor the occasion.
Crane wrote on his personal blog, “I hope my adventure will serve as an inspiration to young people like me to be true to who they are and to know that they are not alone. It’s also my hope that calling attention to this rampant problem will help kids’ parents, families and friends be there for the young people in their lives as they discover and embrace who they are.”
4. Crane discusses his project:
5. Follow his climbing adventures on twitter:
6. Update June 12th: Cason Crane reaches the top of Mt. Everest:
In his own words: “I watched the horizon until the sun had fully risen. Tibet bathed in a golden halo. Nepal, on the other side. The triangle shape of Everest cast a massive shadow. I sat down on the rounded peak, stared at the flags, and still in shock, I sobbed. I had done it. It was so worth it, good times and bad, and I knew I was there for every one of us who’d experienced discrimination. I threw the flags up in the air and watched the wind take them and their prayers to every corner of the Earth.”