Matt Onufrak, a Darlington native who now resides in Seattle, recently summitted Mount Rainier in Washington state.
Onufrak, a member of an American Lung Association Climb for Clean Air team, reached the 14,410-feet summit of Mount Rainier in the early morning of July 14, said his mother, Kathy Onufrak of Darlington.
“The team climbed the Disappointment Cleaver Route and had a beautiful day of climbing,” she said.
The expedition consisted of two days of team mountaineering training and two days of climbing. The team began the ascent on July 13. The first day of the climb took the team to the base camp at 10,000 feet, where they camped for the evening.
They started out again at midnight to traverse their way to the summit, climbing with only the light of headlamps through glaciers and past crevasses. “They reached the summit at 5:30 a.m. to witness a beautiful sunrise,” Kathy Onufrak said. “Luckily, weather conditions were perfect for their climb, not much wind and clear skies.”
The climbers on these teams raise funds for the American Lung Association’s Climb for Clean Air Campaign. The teams have raised more than $340,000, according to the association’s website, action.lung.org. This is Onufrak’s second climb with the organization.
Onufrak, 31, is a 2008 graduate of North Harford High School. He received a degree in computer science from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has lived in Seattle since 2017, where he works as a software engineer for Amazon.
He’s been climbing for eight years and has climbed Machu Picchu, Peru; all five of Washington state’s volcanoes -- Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak and Mount St. Helens; and some of the highest peaks in Colorado, South Dakota, Utah and Arizona. He’s also hiked the Appalachian Trail through 14 states from Georgia to Maine.
“He loves mountains and the challenge of climbing,” his mother said.