SmartStop Self Storage, the retail brand for Strategic Storage Trust Inc., is sponsoring a Mount Everest expedition planned for next year by Greg Paul, a veteran adventurer and climber who will attempt to summit the world’s tallest peak after undergoing his second total knee replacement. Ortho Development Corp., an orthopedic device design and manufacturing company, is also sponsoring the trip.
Paul’s attempt to summit Everest last year was denied after extreme weather, poor route conditions and overcrowding forced guides to cancel the expedition. The mountaineer is recovering from his second knee replacement—his other knee was replaced in 2008—but believes he is ready for the training that will be necessary for his 2014 attempt.
“My 2012 expedition was the first commercial expedition to be outright cancelled before anyone had a chance to make a summit attempt,” he said. “I felt like I had climbed well in 2012 and had what it takes to summit. However, I’ll never know for sure unless I’m given the opportunity to try again.”
Paul, 58, believes he will be the first to attempt to summit Everest with two artificial knees. Climber Mark Inglis became the first double amputee to summit the mountain in 2006. The corporate sponsorships will help finance Paul’s preparatory climbs, air travel, the expedition and other expenses.
“SmartStop embraces people trying to reach new heights,” said H. Michael Schwartz, chairman and CEO of Strategic Storage Trust. “Back in 2008, the SmartStop brand did not exist and today it is used on self-storage facilities representing almost $700 million in assets. SmartStop is an example of what is possible.”
Ortho Development made both of Paul’s artificial knees. “If I can get to the top of Everest with my Ortho knees, anybody ought to be able to climb stairs or play a round of golf with them,” Paul said.
"Ortho Development is passionate about developing products that alleviate pain and improve the quality of life for patients suffering from limitations brought on by arthritis," said Brent Bartholomew, president of Ortho Development. "Greg Paul is an inspirational embodiment of our company's vision. We are proud to have designed and manufactured the knee-replacement implants, right here in our Utah facility that will help a fellow Utahan reach the top of the world."
An accomplished mountaineer, Paul’s ultimate goal is to conquer the Seven Summits, the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents. He has ascended Aconcagua in Argentina, but his expeditions to climb Mount McKinley in Alaska and Mount Elbrus in Russia were forced back by bad weather.
“It takes a year to prepare physically and mentally for Everest,” Paul said. “I plan on doing some preliminary climbs this summer of Mount Rainer, the Grand Teton, Mount Washington and numerous local climbs to make sure my knees and my body, in general, are up to the task. I have also entered some of the hardest endurance bike races in my region.”
In October, he intends to return to Nepal to climb a difficult route on Ama Dablam, known as the Matterhorn of the Himalayas, as a final test before returning to Everest.
Paul will chronicle his Everest attempt on his blog at www.gregclimbing.com. SmartStop will also track his adventure on its blog and social media platforms. Paul will carry sponsor banners with him “to be displayed and photographed throughout the journey and hopefully on all the summits.”
“I want to be a role model for all those aging baby boomers who think or feel they’re too old to pursue their passions and dreams,” he said.
Strategic Storage Trust is a publicly registered, non-traded real estate investment trust. The company’s self-storage portfolio includes 110 facilities in 17 states and Canada that are branded as SmartStop Self Storage. The portfolio includes approximately 70,000 self-storage units and 8.8 million square feet of rentable storage space.