Custom Challenge Spotlight: Deborah Beggan

Last month, we talked about Custom Challenges. Megan Aranow, Summit for Someone Program Manager, talked us through the ins and outs of the program, including:

  • What a Custom Challenge is
  • What the fundraising requirement is
  • How to encourage your community to get behind you

If you haven’t taken a look at that post, you can find it here! If you have, and you’re still struggling with what a Custom Challenge can look like, this post is for you.

Deborah Beggan is a member of our National Council. She has been fundraising for Big City Mountaineers through Custom Challenges for four years running.

Her Custom Challenges have seen her on longer trips and shorter trips, on backpacking trips and adventure races. “I like to tie my personal adventures to a SFS campaign so I can continue to give back every year,” she says.

Over the last four years, she’s raised over $10,000 to give youth access to the outdoors. That’s a full, week-long expedition!

How has she created community support to meet her fundraising goals every year? “I use Instagram and email to communicate with my network about the training, the prep, and the actual adventure. The network list changes a little each year, so I’m not taxing the exact same group year after year.”

If you need ideas for your own Custom Challenge, here are the Challenges Deborah has done:

Custom Challenge 2019: Everesting with 29029

A woman exerts up a hill at sunset or sunrise.

What: An endurance event, covering 29,000 vertical feet over 29 miles. Participants must finish in 36 hours.

Where: Snowbasin Mountain, Utah

Who: 250 people up for what Deborah calls a “Major suffer fest”.

Deborah’s comments: “Amazing event, community, and inspiring humans! I raised about $2500 for BCM!”

Custom Challenge 2018: Cascades Backpacking Trip

Four women stand in front of a creek crossing, wearing backpacking backpacks.

What: Leading a trip of first-time backpackers

Where: Cascade Mountains of northern Washington State

Who: Four women

Deborah’s comments: “Training, gear lists and logistics were all part of the adventure! It was amazing to see the challenges they felt leading up to the trek and in the first 24 hours, quickly fade away. Then it became about putting one foot in front of the other and to just be on trail!  We raised about $3000 for BCM.”

Custom Challenge 2017: The Matterhorn + Hut to Hut Trip

The Matterhorn rises in the background. The midground is a verdant meadow. The foreground is a backpack.

What: A Matterhorn summit and hut to hut trip

Where: Swiss Alps

Who: Deborah, with a guide

Deborah’s comments: “Doing these adventures on my own is restorative. It grounds me and provides a big dose of perspective. The scenery in the Alps in the summer is just as stunning as in the winter. The huts were a dream: wine, heated clogs and amazing food. Raised $2000 for BCM.”

Custom Challenge 2016: Mt. Kilimanjaro

A woman stands in a black puffy and beanie in front of the Kilimanjaro summit sign.What: A summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro and post-summit safari

Where: Tanzania

Who: Deborah, through the Rocky Mountain Institute

Deborah’s comments: “I met great people, fell in love with Africa and proved to myself  I can do big things! It was awesome to go to 19K feet. This was my first time fund raising for BCM and raised $4000.”


As you can see, a Custom Challenge can be whatever you want it to be!

Interested? We’d love to chat! Email Megan Aranow, our Summit for Someone Program Manager, to start planning today!

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