HUSBAND OF ALZHEIMER'S PATIENT ATTEMPTS TO BECOME OLDEST TO SOLO CLIMB EL CAPITAN

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In honor of his wife, Gay, Mike Kozusko (58) an amateur climber and climbing instructor ventures to do what no one else his age has done, solo El Capitan via the Zodiac (A2 5.7) in California's Yosemite National Park. El Capitan or “El Cap” is a three-thousand-foot sheer granite faced mountain that has long been a testing ground for those who want to measure their nerve and their rock climbing skills against those of their predecessors. Mike Kozusko came to the challenges of El Cap in a different way. When his wife Gay was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s he took care of her as long as he could. When Mike had to put Gay in a home he was heartbroken. Two weeks later, with no advance preparation, he made his first solo attempt at El Cap. He failed. Despite his thirty years of climbing and almost as many years as an instructor, he wasn’t ready physically and emotionally… he wasn’t even close. At the time Mike said “I wasn’t ready to climb El Cap. Mostly, I wasn’t mentally prepared and climbing El Cap is mostly mental.” Determined and better prepared Mike made another attempt. During his second solo effort he was halfway up El Cap when a younger and much more experienced climber fell nearly one hundred feet. The climber was secured to the mountain and did not fall to his death, but the experience shook Mike and soon after he descended from the mountain. He had failed again. Mike has been training hard with expert climbers and feels better mentally and physically than in both his previous attempts. And now that he has learned “slacklining”(an agility and concentration exercise) from the Yosemite climbers he has met, his balance and focus are better than ever. But he still has his demons. Mike often says he knows that when his wife dies, he will die. There is no rational reason for this dark thought but it illustrates the powerful connection he feels to Gay. As she declines in health, this sentiment haunts his final attempt at climbing EL Cap. Filmmakers Dave and Mary Davis of IS Film Video will follow Mike up the mountain this Fall to document his final attempt at El Cap. For more information visit: www.isfilmvideo.com