• TrinaSeligman@C4Now.org

Why I Climb…One More Time….

Getting a good night’s sleep while lying on a small rock ledge 1000 feet above the ground is challenging. I awoke to rain drops hitting my face and immediately realized my climb might be ending early.  A mixture of emotions filled my head.  On one hand I was relieved; when you try to live on a wall your brain thinks of a million reasons to go down but very few reason to keep going up. My brain was happy that this debate might soon come to an end.  But at the same time, even though it had been exhausting and difficult, I would be disappointed in not summiting the climb known as “The Nose”.   

It was day three of a five day push up this 2900ft vertical wall known as El Capitan (The Captain). We had made slow but steady progress and spent the first night on Sickle Ledge. On day two we started up Stove Leg Cracks to our second camp at Dolt Tower.  Now, as my guide Miranda and I ate breakfast, we considered our options as the rain continued. It didn’t look promising. 

We could wait out the rain but our food and water would not last us an extra day on the wall. This would result in an epic climb the next day to make up the lost time; and with my compromised lung function I was worried about keeping up.  The other option was to retreat and rappel to the valley floor. 

30 years ago, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This caused my immune system to attack my colon. After several years that included extended hospital stays my large intestine was removed and an internal pouch was created as a stool reservoir. I always thought my biggest medical challenge in climbing Big Walls would be due to having no colon I would have to use the bathroom 6-8 times per day. Over the years, I developed medication & diet changes to try to adjust to living on a Big Wall. I didn’t know that IBD would soon present another greater challenge: compromised lung function. The 11 months leading up to my climb had not started out very well.  My lungs had been declining rapidly, a result of IBD that was now manifesting as chronic bronchiolitis, a pulmonary disease. My lung function declined to 25% of normal and I was dependent on using portable oxygen, even for walking around the house. I started to undergo testing to qualify for the lung transplant list.  Last May during a visit to the emergency room my doctors discovered that changing the type of steroid I had been taking made a dramatic difference.  Overnight, my lung function improved to 65% and I left the oxygen tanks behind.  Not knowing how long this remission might last, I started making plans for climbing The Nose.  It was no longer a long-held dream instead it became a priority. 

Sitting on the wall in the rain, retreat was the obvious option. As we came down and in the days following I thought a lot about the progress and decisions we made and was content. I was not motivated or thinking about a second attempt. As the weeks went by however the memories of the difficulties and the pain began fading as they often do and the desire to summit El Cap began to take over. 

 Stone Gardens Climbing Gym has sponsored my climbs and they have provided generous donations to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation on my behalf as well as giving me support and training.  They recognized that I could not just quit and pledged to match any donations I raised up to $10,000 as a contribution to the Crohn’s & Colitis foundation, if I made another attempt. 

 I was inspired to start another Climb to Cure Crohn’s & Colitis fundraiser, thus my second attempt on The Nose coming in June 2017.  Follow me on Facebook (Facebook.com/C4Now) and my blog (C4Now.org) for regular updates on my progress as I train and climb posting live updates. 

 Please support my climb which contributes to research to find a cure for this disease that affects me, too many of my friends and patients plus over 1.4 million Americans.  Please make your tax-deductible donation to C4now.org. 100% of any donation goes directly to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and will also be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000 by Stone Gardens. 


Never, Never, Never Give Up, 

Trina Seligman, N.D. 


Thank you to my sponsor: 


Jack Willis

June 5, 2017at 7:33 am

As a fellow UC survivor/J-poucher and Climber this gives me a lot of inspiration and all for a great cause. Keep up the good work! 🙂

Ideal Northwest

April 24, 2017at 6:58 am

Once again, we are proud to support your climb and the effort to raise awareness about IBD. You are a true inspriation! And you have taken your own struggles and used them to not only help others with the same condition, but also to become the most empathetic, effective medical pratctitioner I know! You truly provide an extraordinary level of empathy and compassion to your patients — especially people who are struggling with chronic medical issues. Chronic illness is a unique challenge and you set an incredible example of how it can be met with courage, strength and transformation! You have helped so many of us find our way to our own strength and courage! We are all so fortunate to have you in our lives. <3 <3 <3

I look forward to watching your progress up (and safely back down) El Capitan!

–Sherene & the Team at Ideal Northwest
(a.k.a. just one more group of your raving fans!)


    April 25, 2017at 11:27 pm

    I’m so touched by this Sherene, truly, your support is incredible. It is a privilege to work with you and your patients every day. I think I’m at a loss for words, thank you.
    P.S You would not like my high carbohydrate diet up on the wall !! LOL

Annika Kuck

May 8, 2015at 4:22 pm

Trina, you are such an inspiration!! I feel blessed knowing you and so grateful that I met you when I did and for all your encouragement and help on this sometimes rocky path that IBD throws us. You amaze me all the time, and I am so glad to get to support you on your climb. I know you can do it! 🙂

Keith Magnuson

April 21, 2015at 4:41 pm

Please all of you spread the word. This is an amazing undertaking and such an inspiration to all. She is doing something that few people on this planet will ever do and she is doing with a big disadvantage. I am so impressed.


    April 21, 2015at 9:53 pm

    Thank you AGAIN and AGAIN for your encouragement and support ! Thank you for helping to raise awareness for IBD and raise funds for important research.

Carol Johnson

March 16, 2015at 7:39 pm

Jenelle’s mom here…and your patient too! So very proud of you and I’ll be keeping track of you! In one of the most beautiful places in the world…..near and dear to my heart…The Sierras!


    March 17, 2015at 4:39 pm

    Thank you so much for your encouragement Carol. Yes, agreed Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places on the planet !

Marcia Shurtleff

March 3, 2015at 6:53 am

Dr Seligman,
I knew you were an amazing woman, but I had no idea you had so many health challenges over the years! It makes my hypothyroidism trivial by comparison. I have always felt very fortunate to have you for my doctor and admired your knowledge, insight and ability to arrive at a level-headed solution to any problem I brought to you. But to find out you are able to do this while facing your own serious health issues is truly awe inspiring! And to top it off, you climb!! Holy crap! Have an amazing climb. I will be rooting for you all the way!

Rumi Smyth

February 6, 2015at 9:10 am

Wishing you the best! Way to go Trina – so proud of you!!


    February 6, 2015at 10:33 pm

    Ahhh Rumi, you are SO much fun. Wish I still had opportunities to work with you ! Thanks so much for your support !

Martha B

February 5, 2015at 4:42 pm

What a bold effort to end a wretched disease. My pleasure to support you. Best wishes for great health and a joyous climb.


    February 6, 2015at 10:32 pm

    Thank you Martha ! Yes, hoping for health and good weather on this climb ! I appreciate your support !

Bob Harris

February 2, 2015at 1:03 pm

Fantastic!!! Can’t wait to see you on top in more than one way!


    February 6, 2015at 10:31 pm

    Thanks Bob, Will be sure to update everyone with pictures ! I appreciate your support once again. I know that you have a personal connection with the CCFA and I hope through challenges like this we will one day find a CURE.


January 21, 2015at 11:48 pm

Thanks Tina ! Very much appreciated that you jumped on board. Wishing you a healthy 2015 !


January 21, 2015at 11:47 pm

Well, fortunately Elaine and Richard I’m not superstitious so you can say whatever you’d like !! Thank you SO much for your support.
Thanks Stan and Ros, I am so appreciative of your support again.
Raising money for research is a personal goal for me and it feels great to have others appreciate the importance of this project. Thank you !

Tina Palmer

January 21, 2015at 11:39 am

Received your email this morning and wishing you all the best in your climb!

Elaine and Richard Landau

January 20, 2015at 9:56 am

Impressive! Go get ’em Trina. Do you say ” break a leg” to climbers??

Stan & Ros Witkin

January 19, 2015at 4:52 pm

Best wishes and good luck!

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#FF0000 Raised $37,400 towards the $35,000 target.

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