If you go
What: Presentation/fundraiser on trafficking in Nepal
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 6
Where: Shine restaurant and Gathering Place, 2027 13th Street, Boulder
Cost: Free
More info: himalayan-foundation.org/projects/girl-trafficking


After climbing 14 fourteeners in 14 days (actually, they did it faster than that), and climbing to the high point in each state in 50 days (again, faster) he next big adventure for the father and son team of Mike and Matt Moniz is in the Himalaya.

But this time, their paths will diverge. Both will depart Boulder in March for Nepal. Mike  Moniz will head to Mount Everest for an attempt on the mountain, immediately followed by an attempt on neighboring 8,000-meter peak and fourth highest in the world, Lhotse. If all goes well, he'll attempt a third 8,000-meter peak, Cho Oyu, in the following weeks. 

Matt  Moniz, age 14, won't be attempting any big peaks. Instead, he'll go on a trek with four other eighth graders from Platt Middle School on a circuit that includes a Nepalese school, Everest Base Camp and a lower, safer peak -- Kala Patthar.

For the Monizes, this is a return to Nepal, and a bit of a reunion.

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The middle schoolers -- Matt  Moniz's twin, Kaylee Moniz, Jordan Zoller, Olivia Hess and Cam Dudiak -- all of whom joined Matt  Moniz for the 14 fourteeners climbs -- will meet up with a guide Matt Moniz met on his 2007 trek in Nepal, and make another stop at the Khumjung School, also known as the Hillary School, after Everest first-ascentionist Edmund Hillary, where Matt Moniz met students in 2007.
Mike Moniz, of Boulder, tries to catch his breath atop Illimani, a peak in Bolivia’s Cordillera Real that he and his son, Matt, age 14, climbed in
Mike Moniz, of Boulder, tries to catch his breath atop Illimani, a peak in Bolivia's Cordillera Real that he and his son, Matt, age 14, climbed in 2011. This March, the Monizes will travel to Nepal for their next project. Courtesy photo.


“I sat in for a half-a-day class there,” Matt Moniz said, “and it was kinda cool because I was hanging out with kids my age. We figured out that we have a lot in common, it was a really cool experience.”

That day, the students all drew something important to them, including Matt Moniz.

“I drew the Flatirons,” he said. “They drew Mount Everest, yaks, elephants, deer...”
 
He felt a connection when he talked with these kids, and the Monizes hope that the other middle schoolers who are trekking with Matt Moniz (and some parental chaperones, of course) have a similar experience this March, when they visit the school again over their own spring break.

Plus, Mike Moniz said, they always like to have a service or philanthropic component to their trips, and after doing some research on the region, they chose to call attention to the plight of girls in the area who have become victims of trafficking.

“That's probably one of the biggest issues there right now,” Matt Moniz said. “There's about 20,000 girls being trafficked each year in Nepal.”

So the family set up a fundraising event at Shine,  2027 13th St., Boulder, next week, through the American Himalayan Foundation's Stop Girl Trafficking Project; the Platt students going on the trip will give a presentation at the event.

“For $100 you can save one girl from trafficking, and you actually send them to school,” Matt  Moniz said of the American Himalayan Foundation's program.

Zoller, who is joining her friend and Platt classmate on the trip, said she's excited and happy to “help raise money and actually see where it's helping.”

Meanwhile, Mike Moniz has been helping organize events like the one at Shine (there's another in Winter Park, too) and also training for his climb by ski mountaineering whenever possible, and logging time on his elliptical. 

However, climbing without his favorite partner will be a strange experience for him.

“I've been so focused on Matt on the climbs, I've never thought about myself up high, on Aconcagua and Denali,” he said.

His son is a strong and motivated climber, Mike Moniz said, so he's not sure how he'll perform without him.

“This is the first time I've been away from Matt for a big mountain adventure,” Mike Moniz said.  “It's challenging for me. I'm not sure how much he has contributed to my success.”