Riley Anderson

Riley Anderson, from Calgary, Alberta, in Canada, is our Lead Dad of the Week.

A divorced Lead Dad of three, Riley was looking for something to do with his three children, all under the age of 10. He had been running and hiking more since his divorce a few years ago. He had a thought: What if he could hike Mount Everest with his kids?

An accountant and financial planner, Riley was fit but he wasn’t thinking of flying to Nepal with his kids. He wanted to hike Everest inside his house. So he calculated the number of stairs his children would have to climb to equal the distance to the top of Everest. Turns out that means going up to the top of his three-story home 580 times.

“The goal of this is not to make my kids hate exercise,” he said. “I want my kids to be more resilient, to learn that you can do something hard and enjoy it. Life is going to be painful.” His daughter and two sons are about halfway to the peak, having scaled hundreds of stairs. Every time they reach one of the Everest basecamps – in miles – he celebrates by giving them a surprise. Makes sense since he says, “it’s going to take us more than a year.”

But he’s also honest that how the hike looks on Instagram isn’t how it always looks when they’re doing it. “It all looks amazing and fun. It’s like that maybe 20 percent of the time. But the kids like watching the videos and it keeps us going.”
Recently, a Canadian hiker who scaled the actual Everest came to their school and the kids told them what they were doing. “He thought it was great, and even signed our hiking chart.”

We love Lead Dads doing creative things with their children. Thanks for doing what you’re doing, Riley, and Welcome to The Company of Dads.