Christy Martin: Reaching For The Summit

Christy Martin.

Christy Martin.

As a gemology student, Christy Martin of Clater Jewelers became inspired to attempt a feat many would never dare to try.

After learning where colored gemstones are formed, Martin resolved to one day climb a mountain to take her passion for gemology to a whole new level. On July 27, Christy, now a graduate gemologist, will leave for Seattle, Wash. to ascend Mt. Rainier, a 14,411-foot active volcano. She will face temperatures as low as 10 degrees, thin air and the possibility of altitude sickness during the three-day adventure. But with her uncle, an experienced climber, by her side and her five-person team, the Sparkling Rock Mountaineers, Christy is confident she’ll accomplish her goal.

The climb, however, isn’t simply about achieving personal success; it’s also about raising money for a charity important to Christy: The Ronald McDonald House. Many of the boutiques in Westport Village, where Clater Jewelers is located, are supporting Christy’s mission by placing Ronald McDonald boxes inside their stores, where people can donate money and soda can pull-tabs. Donations can also be made by sending a check to Clater Jewelers, 1201 Herr Lane, or visiting or
The Voice-Tribune caught up with Christy to learn more about her upcoming trek on Mt. Rainier and her desire to help a local charity as she soars to new heights.

– Ashley Anderson, Staff Writer

What inspired you to climb Mt. Rainier?

I am a GIA (Gemological Institute of America) graduate gemologist. When I went to school, I learned how gemstones are formed. … A lot of the (gemstones) come up through the mountains and come down through the river beds. So, through my school, I was learning about all the different mountain ranges throughout the whole world. And I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to climb a mountain one day?

Why did you decide to raise money for Ronald McDonald through the climb?
Ronald McDonald House does great things for kids. That’s (some kids’) home away from home during difficult times, and this mountain will kind of be my home away from home, so I would like to raise money for them. … It’s so easy for people just to donate the soda pull tabs. They can donate any (amount) of money. Also on (Clater Jewelers’) website, there’s a link that directly links you to Ronald McDonald, and there’s a list of supplies that the families need, so my thought was whether it was money or pull tabs or supplies, it wouldn’t matter to me. Whatever we could do would be good.

How have you prepared for the climb?
Everyone (on the team has) climbed mountains except myself. (My team) sent me a training schedule of what to do, so for about two months I’ve been doing this training schedule. … I have a backpack I train with, and I put two 20-pound dumbbells in it. … I joined a gym that has the rotating stairs, and I get on there and I do about 100 floors to 200 floors with my backpack at least three or four times a week. I also lift weights and I run.

What will you carry in your backpack on your climb?
My pack will have clothes, food, necessities like first aid, those sort of things and should weigh about 40 pounds.

What is the terrain like on Mt. Rainier?
Until we get to 10,000 feet, it will be mainly trails and tracks. … It’s strange that the first 10,000 feet don’t take near as long as that last 4,000 feet. At that point, I’ll have crampons on my shoes, which are like spikes, an ice pick and a walking stick. We’re all harnessed together, and they’re going to put me in the middle since I’m the least experienced.

What has helped motivate you through training?
I have an aunt who’s 102 at the Jefferson Place and we’ve kind of been motivation for one another, because the doctor wanted her to walk the hallway four times instead of two times a day. And so I’d go over and see her and she’d say, ‘Did you do your training today?’ (One day I didn’t feel like training and) I said ‘Alright, I’ll make you a deal: I’ll go do my climb if you go walk the halls four times.’ … Being accountable (through her), making sure that you’re doing your training, having the knowledge, reading the books and watching the videos (has helped prepare me the most).

What do you expect it to be like when you reach the summit?
Probably, at that point my body will be totally fatigued and exhausted. Everybody says that everything else, all that pain and all that in your mind that you’ve been going through the last two days, it all disappears. It’s just a surreal feeling standing up there and getting to see the world from a totally different place that most people never get to see it from.

You can track Christy’s climb on Clater Jeweler’s Facebook page, “Clater Jewelers Diamond Center.” For more information on Clater Jewelers, visit