Fort Worth firefighters endure grueling workouts to prepare for Denali climb

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on June 5, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 27 at 4:07 PM

FORT WORTH -- Trying to reach North America's highest peak isn't something one does on a whim, or without any preparation.

Six Fort Worth firefighters are training for the trek in late June.

News 8 first introduced the fun-loving group last week. Before they leave, the men are undergoing rigorous workout routines.

At least once a week, they train together in a high-intensity, no-rest circuit which includes wall balls, burpees, and jumps.

They have also spent hours lugging around 50-pound backpacks, and even free-weight sleds to simulate the real sleds they will haul across the icy Alaskan landscape at Mount McKinley.

The workouts attract a far amount of curiosity.

"You get some crazy looks, honks, but really everyone has been overwhelmingly positive," said firefighter Kasey Gandy.

The pain here will be a gain as the men ascend some 20,000-plus feet of the mountain.

Thin air, coupled with layers of clothing and sporadic weather, make for an unpredictable environment where everyone's body reacts a little differently.

"When you decide to climb a 20,000-foot mountain, you've got to ramp up your training," said firefighter Dusty Sides, who has mountain-climbing experience.

The group is climbing on behalf of six burn survivors from Sons of the Flag. The burn victims will write each fireman a letter of encouragement which they will read as they approach the summit.

The firefighters are hoping to raise $10,000 for the cause. For more information on donating, click here.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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