Members of a National Geographic expedition rescued an abandoned puppy during an expedition to climb California’s 15 tallest peaks. The puppy was adopted by a Colorado family.
The expedition group consisted of National Geographic grantee Cedar Wright and his fellow explorer, Alex Honnold. The duo embarked on a “Sufferfest” of a mission that consisted of climbing California’s 15 tallest peaks. Soon after completing the expedition, the pair set out on another equally ambitious goal. The two men biked 800 miles and scaled 45 iconic towers in Southwestern America, all in just three weeks. Honnold and Wright aptly named this second expedition “Sufferfest 2.”
As always with great adventures, Honnold and Wright knew to expect the unexpected. However, they were still pleasantly surprised when the unexpected came in the form of an abandoned puppy. Quickly dubbed “Sufferpup” by the duo, the puppy was discovered by Wright during a “nature calls” pitstop.
“Sometimes you’re in the middle of nowhere and you gotta go, so you just pull off and pee behind a bush,” Wright explained to National Geographic when describing the incident. “I have to pee so I just stop on my bike randomly in the desert and all of a sudden I hear this whimpering sound and at first I can’t figure out what it is and then I look and there’s this little puppy curled up in an old tire hiding from the wind. I quickly realized that he had been abandoned.”
From there on out, the “Sufferfest” gang went from a duo to a trio. But, not surprisingly, the explorers weren’t exactly equipped with puppy-care supplies. However, nothing breeds innovation like lack of preparedness.
“One of the important things for me was to have a cold beer at the end of the day, so we had this used beer box and we were like, ‘Oh, this will make a perfect little kennel for Sufferpup.’ So we just took the box and cut a hole in it and put some rags in there and that became Sufferpup’s little kennel, it became his little home,” Wright explained. “ And while we were up climbing he’d be hiding in his little beer box home from the wind and the sand and then we’d get down and feed him.”
While Honnold’s and Wright’s decision to adopt Sufferpup did rescue the abandoned pup from succumbing to the elements or starvation, fate appeared to be the real hero in this story. Both expeditioners conceded that Sufferpup became the incentive and motivator for completing “Sufferfest 2.”
“For me, it was like ‘thank goodness for Sufferpup,’ because when you’re just pushing yourself to your absolute limit, biking further than you want to, climbing more than you really want to, it’s really heartening at the end of the day to come down and have this adorable little puppy to cuddle with. Without Sufferpup I don’t know if we would have made it,” Wright admitted.
With each other’s companionship, the trio thrived and successfully completed the mission, and post-Sufferfest life has proven to be equally satisfying. Honnold and Wright arranged a new home for Sufferpup with their friends in Boulder, Colorado, and the duo was left with a new story to share and an unexpected little friend.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter