Adaptive Summiteers Expedition To Mount Whitney
by Timothy A. Cleveland
(updated 4/28/02)

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For many people with disabilities, pictures are the only means by which they can experience the wonders that exist in the wilderness. Venturing off the paved path has not only been difficult, but often dangerous. An adaptive device that would facilitate safe travel to these glorious areas does not presently exist. How important is a device such as this? Image what it would be like if your only contact with a loved one was through pictures or information written about them from a stranger. That's how it feels for the millions of individuals with disabilities who are denied the opportunity to visit these magnificent places. The expedition is summarized below with more information available at

The Project
Our mission is to develop and refine an adaptive device capable of safely negotiating hiking trails and other previously inaccessible areas. Using existing bicycle gearing technology, people with varying degrees of disabilities and strengths will be able to utilize this specially designed wheel chair. It will be capable of climbing steep inclines and maintaining stability on off-angle trails and slopes. With a compact overall size, the device will have an extremely tight turning radius and the ability to travel on narrow trails. Special tires will be utilized to facilitate travel on the majority of surfaces encountered on most hiking trails.

The Expedition--White Mountain and Mount Whitney
Timothy Cleveland, a paraplegic, plans to make the first ascent of Mount Whitney this summer in this specially-designed wheel chair. The Adaptive Summiteers Expedition will be the maiden voyage of this innovative device. This special expedition will begin in late August 2002, starting with a one-day ascent of White Mountain Peak, the third highest peak in California at 14,246 feet. The second leg of the trek will begin two days later with a week-long, 41-mile journey through the ruggedly-spectacular Sierra Nevada, ascending 3 mountain passes before the final ascent of Mount Whitney's lofty summit. At 14,491 feet, Whitney is not only the highest peak in California but the highest in the lower-48 states. The expedition will follow Route 9 described in Mount Whitney: The Complete Trailhead-to-Summit Hiking Guide. Timothy Cleveland will pilot this divice and ascend these summits under his own power with no assistance in forward motion. The only assistance will be with hauling of some of the gear and fixing safety ropes.

This expedition is a once in a life time goal for Tim and an opportunity by which we hope to not only give wings to his dreams but to those of others with mobility challenges. This journey will be undertaken on behalf of two charitable organizations that benefit the disabled community, some 54 million Americans. This expedition will bring renewed hope not only for people with disabilities, but also for those who have lost the comfort of their hopes and dreams because of resent tragedies.

If you wish to make a tax exempt donation to assist with the costs, please see information under "Financing the Expedition" below. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

The Designers
Timothy A. Cleveland - Tim has been a wheelchair user and a dreamer for the past 40 years. For more years than he cares to mention. He explains that, "I have let outside influences dictate my limitations and to some degree who I am. I finally realized that inner barriers are more debilitating than any external physical limitations." Tim has always treasured his experiences in the mountains, savoring the mystery and the beauty that they possess. For the past several years he has been working on ways to help himself and other paraplegics witness the wonders and feel nature's magic in person. Tim has ventured further and higher than he probably should have in his everyday wheelchair, surviving spills and rugged trails. He has experienced the worst in order to help himself and others achieve their best.

Tim is not only one of the designers of this special device; he will also be the "pilot" (or "crash test dummy") for the maiden voyage of the "summit chair" on the Adaptive Summiteers Expedition. He is also developing a nonprofit website,, that provides free information on the many outdoor adventures available for people with mobility impairments in his home state of California. When he is not out in the wild he is hard at work, Tim is an award winning Sound Effects Editor for Warner Brothers Studios. His credits include, "Smallville", "ER", "Lois & Clark", "The West Wing", "Third Watch", "Thieves", "The Fugitive", "Vengeance Unlimited", "Malcolm In The Middle", "Gilmore Girls", "Walker Texas Ranger", and the films "The Matrix", "Rosewood", "Deep Impact", "Assassins" and many more.

Thomas Forsyth - Thomas is an accomplished designer of human powered vehicles and \the lead designer for the "Chairiot", which holds the world's record for the overall fastest "arms only" powered vehicle. General Motors sponsored its development and the vehicle has recently been on exhibit at Disney's Epcot Center in Florida. His designs have also won five world records, two international benchmark records, and international competition awards for best mechanical design, slalom time, and practical vehicle designs. Thomas has worked with many notable individuals like: Dr. Chet Kyle - lead designer for the US Olympic Cycling Team, Dr. David Gordon Wilson - Professor of Engineering at MIT and special projects member at General Motors Research and Development Center, and Dr. Paul MacCready - the world's most highly respected and recognized mechanical engineer and CEO of AeroVironment. Thomas currently serves on the rules committee of the "International Human Power Vehicle Association. He has also worked as media coordinator for several international cycling events. When he is not out breaking records, Thomas currently works as the Director of Research and Development for Columbia-Inland Corporation. Thomas is always looking for new, unique, and challenging projects that benefit others. When Tim approached him about the "summit chair" project it immediately caught his attention as an extremely important and worthwhile project.

Financing the Expedition
This journey will be undertaken on behalf of two charitable organizations that benefit the disabled community, some 54 million Americans. This expedition will bring renewed hope not only for people with disabilities, but also for those who have lost the comfort of their hopes and dreams because of resent tragedies.

Tim has set up nonprofit accounts with the University of California White Mountain Research Station and the Eastern Sierra Institute of Collaborative Education (ESICE), 501(c)(3) organizations (tax ID#91-1834171), so personal and corporate donations are tax deductable. If you wish to help by donating to the expedition, please send your check to: White Mountain Research Station, Attention: Susan Szewczak, 3000 East Line Street, Bishop, CA 93514. Checks can be made out to "ESICE" with a notation "Adaptive Summiteers Expedition" to help defray the cost of the expedition or a notation to "Adaptive Summiteers Fund" for the charities.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Contact Information
Timothy A. Cleveland, 1916 North Pepper Street, Burbank, CA 91505
Phones: (818) 848-8533 (Home), (818) 954-5114 (Work), (818) 416-7992 (Cellular)

Thomas Forsyth, 2604 SE 14th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202
Phones: (503) 231-8411 (Home), (503) 657-6676 (Work)
Email: TForsyth@TT.TF by Paul Richins, Jr.
formerly Backcountry_Resource_Center

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