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Moda medical claims manager hikes Himalayas in 'trip of a lifetime'

At the end of her 17-day Himalayan trek, Moda claims manager Regina Klettke summarized the trip in a Facebook post:

At the end of her 17-day Himalayan trek, Moda claims manager Regina Klettke summarized the trip in a Facebook post: "Total miles = 130; highest elevation = 18,514 ft.; total hot showers = 3; total tears = 2; total cups of tea = over 100."

When not serving as a medical claims manager, Regina Klettke is an avid outdoorswoman. It’s normal for her to plan hiking and biking adventures year ‘round, but this spring was a little different: The 20-year Moda employee had set her sights on some of the world’s most challenging terrain, the Himalayan mountain range in Nepal.

Prepping for the 17-day trek meant months of training, in conditions that couldn’t match the extremes of the peaks she planned to scale. To get ready, Klettke logged long hikes in the Columbia River Gorge and on Mount Hood. When she couldn’t get outside, she walked the stairs at Moda Tower during her lunch breaks and committed to weight training and stairclimbing in the gym.

In December, neck surgery nearly put her bucket-list trip at risk. She’d gone cliff jumping in the Azores in September, and the impact on her spine turned out to be more severe than she thought, Klettke said, with two slipped vertebrae and a ruptured disk. Still, she persevered. “Thankfully I healed quickly and was able to go on this trip of a lifetime.”

“It was an incredible adventure,” she added. “I feel like now I can accomplish anything.”

Throughout her trip, Klettke was awestruck by the scenery and by her ability to master the tough terrain. “I cannot put into words the utter beauty of what I experienced,” she said.

Throughout her trip, Klettke was awestruck by the scenery and by her ability to master the tough terrain. “I cannot put into words the utter beauty of what I experienced,” she said.

‘Don’t be afraid to fail’

Klettke called Nepal’s Ama Dablam “my favorite mountain.”<

Klettke called Nepal’s Ama Dablam “my favorite mountain.”

Klettke kept her friends and family back home up to date on her adventures by posting a travel diary and photos on Facebook. On April 8, she shared her observations from the trip’s literal pinnacle:

“It was someone’s (not mine) bright idea to get up at 4:30 a.m. and climb Kala Patthar to watch the sunrise behind Mount Everest, elevation 18,514 feet, the highest I’ve been on this trip! It was so tough and there were several times I wanted to quit, but I thought of others’ daily struggles and pushed myself to finish.”

When her trip ended three days later, Klettke had logged 130 miles and hit milestones including Gokyo Ri (17,575 feet), Chola Pass (17,782 feet) and Everest Base Camp (17,600 feet). She managed to avoid the injuries, illnesses and altitude sickness that often sideline Himalayan climbers, and she’d become part of a new community.

“I met and watched people of all races, ages, sizes, and all fitness levels come together in a place where we wanted to experience something much bigger than ourselves,” Klettke recalled in her final entry in the travel diary.

“I want to leave you with this,” she told her Facebook friends: “Travel more and stress less, live in the moment, take a risk, challenge yourself, push yourself to exhaustion once in a while, sweat, cry, pray, don't be afraid to fail — love and live life to the fullest; you only have this one!"

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