You are here:HomeNews CenterNews About PIA2004PIA's Ken Auerbach Ascends Mt. Rainier

PIA's Ken Auerbach Ascends Mt. Rainier

When you think about the recreational activities enjoyed most by insurance agents, one of the first that comes to mind is golf. But not...
October 1, 2004

New Jersey Agent Plants the PIA Flag on the Summit, Plans More Climbs

When you think about the recreational activities enjoyed most by insurance agents, one of the first that comes to mind is golf.  But not for Ken Auerbach, PIA National director from New Jersey. At least not yet. He thinks golf is OK, but for now he prefers to climb mountains.

PIA's Ken Auerbach"I appreciate golf, but it's different," says Auerbach. "When you play golf, the landscapes are beautiful, but they are artificial, man-made. In mountain climbing, you get to experience landscapes that are beyond anything any human being could possibly create."

On August 16, 2004 Auerbach and a team of companions ascended 14,410 feet to the peak of Mount Rainier in Washington State. While he was there, he planted the PIA flag on the summit. "I felt like I was doing my part as a member of the PIA team, just like you must do your part when you are a member of the climbing team."

This isn't the first time scaling to a summit for the Eatontown, New Jersey agent. He's been an avid mountain climber for the past seven years.  On August 11, 2001, he reached the top of Mount Shasta in the Cascade Mountains of northern California, elevation 14,162 feet. He has also solo climbed Mount Washington in New Hampshire, home of the "world's worst weather," - in the winter.

The climbs up Mt. Rainier and Mt. Shasta were team efforts, but sometimes Auerbach prefers to go it alone. "Sometimes I do it alone," he says. "It's very nice. I enjoy the solitude and the chance to be introspective." Sometimes he just decides to take a few days off from his agency business and go do a climb, solo. "It is a nice contrast with what you experience doing it with other people, roped together, where you are absolutely a part of a team."

For his assault on Mt. Rainier, Auerbach bumped up his training to climbing 3000 steps with a backpack, then running 4 miles and doing 300 pushups.

Cuisine on a climb is nothing like a hot dog in the clubhouse after 18 holes on the golf course.  Food comes from a dehydrated package, and refreshments consist of melted snow. The diet on a climb consists almost entirely of carbohydrates to try to match the 15,000 calories that can be expended.  "Of course, we did make sure we had pizzas and beers waiting for us back at the trailhead" noted Auerbach.

PIA's Ken Auerbach

Next on the ascent agenda for Auerbach is the 22,841-foot Mount Aconcagua in western Argentina.  He's also considering climbing Mount Hood in Oregon, around the time of the 2005 PIA National board meeting in September 2005.

Auerbach says that someday, he may put his climbing gear behind and concentrate on more sedate recreational activities such as golf - but not for awhile. There are miles to go, and many more mountains to climb, before Ken Auerbach becomes a duffer.

This article originally appeared in the October 2004 PIA Connection.

Filed under: