Student summits six peaks in six weeks

Courtesy of Matthew Rubright. Matthew Rubright, junior behavioral science major, climbed to the top of Cucamonga Peak in the San Gabriel Mountains in 5 hours and 25 minutes round trip.

Setting a goal is easy, but the mental process to achieve those goals is rarely discussed.

From hiking the Appalachian trails in Virginia to becoming the first to complete the Six-Pack of Peaks challenge, a challenge to climb the six tallest peaks in Southern California, Matthew Rubright, junior behavioral science major, conquered it all.

Rubright said the process it took to become the first to complete this challenge was more about having the right mindset.

Rubright set a goal to complete the challenge within six weeks or less.

He said he had done a lot of hiking during his time as a member of the Marine Corps, which helped prepare him for the big victory.

“I started out with the easier ones first and I went from there. It is more of a mental challenge than it is physical because the distances are what’s difficult,” Rubright said. It’s all about the mental aspect of the climb and mentally preparing yourself to not give up.”

Setting a goal may come with self-doubt or the fear of not being able to complete the goal on time or at all.

For Rubright, he said it was the complete opposite.

“My whole thing was about challenging myself mentally, setting a mental goal, and having the discipline to fulfill that goal no matter what,” Rubright said. “I set the goal and after that I was going to do it no matter what. That was my motivation.”

Rubright said finding the mental strength to achieve goals without giving up is key to being successful.

“Set goals and follow through. It’s always important to challenge yourself and continually push yourself because that’s the only way that you grow as a person,” Rubright said. “I just want to encourage everybody, whether (your goal is) mountain climbing, something academic or even (something) spiritually, set goals and push yourself and don’t give up until you get there.”

Rubright said he and his friend climbed Cucamonga Peak and Mount Wilson back-to-back, covering an impressive 26.5 miles in two days.

Rubright added he looks forward to hiking in places such as Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park and Grand Canyon National Park.

He said his favorite part of this entire experience was being able to get outdoors, get fresh air, enjoy some silence and view God’s creation.

“The peak is cool when you get to the top but the views are best along the way,” Rubright said. “I saw some of the coolest views by far by walking up before I even got to the peak. There was a point in one of the hikes where I was probably about 20 yards away from a bobcat. It was just walking along the side of the trail and that was pretty amazing.”

For students who are interested in completing the SoCal Six-Pack of Peaks challenge, it is not too late to join. This event will continue until the end of the school year, and is open to anyone interested.

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