During a posting to the United States Embassy of Vienna, Austria, Nathan Schmidt, founder of Mountain Seed Foundation, along with his family, discovered the therapeutic benefits of climbing. The mountains became a place for Nathan to confront the trauma of combat and moral injury he had experienced as a US Marine.
In his personal journey to Climb To Heal, he discovered not just hope for himself, but a vision for how the mountains could help heal others.
If you know Nathan and his wife Dana, you are well aware that they possess the remarkable ability to cultivate a sense of community wherever they find themselves, from the US to Eastern Europe to Africa. They have a knack for creating connections and fostering a spirit of togetherness around shared goals and values.They build Sunday dinners wherever they go, and naturally attract others who wish to give back.
It was in Austria that they built a climbing family and met Andreas “Andi” Gassner, Kaprun native, seasoned mountaineer, and child whisperer extraordinaire (more on that later). Andi designed the Healing Base Camp climbing program in Kaprun because this region offers grandiose climbs in an accessible and safe manner for all levels of climbers.
Kaprun offers an extensive range of climbing opportunities that cater to different levels of experience. These include top rope and rappel locations that ease you into trusting your gear, your team and yourself. It is home to unique via ferrata style climbing that strikes a balance between providing a challenge and maintaining safety. During the final day of the camp, we conquer the summit of Kitzsteinhorn. This peak presents a unique challenge that brings together mothers and children, enabling them to explore their capabilities both as individuals and as a cohesive family unit. This shared endeavor fosters an environment of optimism, inspiring a sense of hope in the uncertain times ahead. The diverse range of climbing sets Kaprun apart as a location offering a unique and challenging climbing experience that changes your life.
Stay tuned for insights into these incredible climbs and the heights they scale.
A heartfelt thank you to all the Austrian organizations that offer support during Healing Base Camp 2023.
Mountain Seed Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, EIN 87-1017090. Donations are tax deductible.