Summit training at the Cricket Club

by Len Lear
Posted 7/10/24

Megan Rath is preparing for another grueling training session.

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Summit training at the Cricket Club


At the Philadelphia Cricket Club, Megan Rath prepares for another grueling training session. At 44, this seasoned athlete isn't gearing up for a local golf tournament. Her sights are set much higher – quite literally.

Rath, a club member since 2011, is on the verge of an extraordinary accomplishment. She has already climbed six of the world's seven tallest peaks, one on each continent. This October, she plans to complete the "Seven Summits Challenge" by scaling the Carstensz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea.

The club's director of fitness, Mark Miller, said Rath “has a work ethic like no other.”

“It's truly admirable seeing what she has overcome with some of the injuries she's had being an athlete her whole life,” he said. “She just does the work, I can't sugarcoat it; change comes from showing up every single day when you don't even want to get out of bed, and she does exactly that.”

"When you come up with the idea to climb these mountains, people think you're crazy," Rath says. "Then when you actually do it, they don't think you're crazy anymore."

Rath’s journey to the world's highest peak began in November 2016. During a trek to Everest Base Camp, Rath met Sangeeta Bahl, an Indian woman who would later become the oldest Indian female to summit Everest at 53. Inspired by Bahl, Rath discovered a passion she never knew she had.

"Before I met Sangeeta, I'd never even heard of the Seven Summits," Rath admits.

What followed was a series of intense training and epic adventures. Rath's first major climb was Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, standing at 19,341 feet. She conquered it in January 2018, just over a year after she first got the idea to climb. 

From there, Rath continued her quest:

Mount Elbrus in Russia (18,510 feet), July 2019

Aconcagua in Argentina (22,837 feet), December 2023

Mount Vinson Massif in Antarctica (16,050 feet), December 2022

Denali in Alaska (20,310 feet), May 2023

Mount Everest in Nepal (29,032 feet), May 2024

Mark Miller, who has been training Rath for the past year, speaks of her dedication with admiration. "When she left for Mount Everest, I had zero doubt that she was going to get to the top, regardless of what was put in front of her. That's the type of person she is. Pretty amazing!"

Rath's path to mountaineering excellence hasn't been without its challenges. She's had knee surgeries and currently needs transplants on her kneecaps. "Climbing does not help, of course," she admits. "I have to get shots and load management for hip mobility 60-90 minutes every day."

Yet, she perseveres. Her training regimen is intense – 13 hours a week with a 50-pound backpack and 75 pounds on a sled. Before tackling Everest, she spent five weeks at a special training camp in Austria, including 400 hours in a hypoxic tent to acclimate to high altitudes.

A native of Norwalk, Connecticut, Rath graduated from Penn State University in 2003. She worked for a medical device company for 13 years, followed by five years in the insurance industry. Now, she does public relations work, fitting her climbing ambitions around her professional life.

Rath was always a superb athlete. She played field hockey and lacrosse and swam when she was young. As an adult, she took part in triathlons for 10 years. But when she began going to the Cricket Club, it was just to play golf and socialize, not to train. 

She now estimates she's invested about $200,000 in her mountaineering pursuits. "I have blown $200,000, but I would not change a thing," she says. "I do have one sponsor in Delaware, and I will have to find more."

Beyond the physical and financial challenges, Rath has found unexpected rewards in her global adventures. "You meet interesting people all along the way," she explains. "I now have friends all over the world that I met on these climbing trips. We are like a sorority. It's an awesome feeling. I love it."

As she prepares for her final summit, Rath said, she remains focused on the feeling she knows she’ll find. "It's very hard to breathe up there, but it is gorgeous and majestic," she says. "Everything you are searching for you will find on your way to the top, not at the top."

Len Lear can be reached at