11:30 AM

Scaling Heights Literally and Figuratively: Flexxive Student Breaks Climbing Record

Scaling Heights Literally and Figuratively: Flexxive Student Breaks Climbing Record

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

Josh Sanders has hit a lot of high points this year. Sanders, who recently earned his Bachelor of Business through the University’s Flexxive format, conquered the High Point Challenge in record time.

The High Point Challenge involves climbing to the highest point in each of the 48 contiguous states. Josh and his sister, Lindsay, made the climbs in 19 days, 7 hours and 37 minutes. Their last climb was Mount Katahdin in Maine in mid-July.

Sanders1Roughly 500 people have completed the High Point Challenge, but Sanders always wanted more than to simply join that exclusive club.

“For me personally, there was never any thought on any level other than I want to break this record,” he said “I've also always been very ambitious especially when it comes to athletics. I think it was only a matter of time before I found a way to combine my love of sports and competitive nature with my love of the outdoors and mountains.”

While the mountains in Wyoming and Montana were Sanders favorites in terms of the view they offered from the top, they were also among the most harrowing climbs.

“The Montana and Wyoming mountains were the most punishing and dangerous,” he said. “Wyoming is a 40-mile hike just to get to the peak where you have to scale Bonney Pass and Bonney was a 60-degree frozen ice slope. I'm pretty fast in the mountains and that 1,200-foot pass took 2.5 hours to climb. It was exhausting."

And the view?

“Just visually stunning places to see,” he said. “You don't want to take photographs because you know they could never capture the whole landscape and do it justice.”

In Nebraska, Sanders ascended to Panorama Point in the southwest portion of the panhandle near Kimball. The site is 5,429 feet above sea level, but is not so much a mountain or hill, but rather the “highest area of a plateau,” Sanders said.

Of course, the highest point in Nebraska for Sanders might well have been his Bellevue University degree. Sanders thrived within the Flexxive format.

“What's innovative and in my opinion, groundbreaking with the flexxive program, is that it allows someone with an associate’s degree to get their bachelor’s in 12 months,” he said.” It's also the most affordable option.” Sanders would occasionally put in up to 10 hours on school work in a single day, but other times would not log in for two or three days.

"I thought it was incredible,” he said. “I'd get in a 'school mood' and knock out a class or two at 1 a.m. You have to be motivated since there are no deadlines, but if you’re ambitious or organized this format is total freedom.

"As much of a nerd as this will make me sound... I loved making progress. The program is divided into phases and components and ever the competitor; I'd loved making a Word Document with all the phases and just knocking them out one by one. Obviously learning the material and getting good grades were important too, but being competitive and motivated I loved being able to see my progress as I earned the degree.”

Sanders2Sanders came into the program with three years of college credit and some entrepreneurial experience.

“I'm hopeful that with my work experience already being very good for someone my age (33) that this degree will round out the resume and lead to a position in leadership with a company where I can make a difference,” he said.

There are more mountains to climb, but Sanders will take a break at least for a little while.

“I'm still recovering from this 19-day climbing marathon, so at this time I'm torn between never climbing a hard mountain again and then the opposite spectrum where I'd like to make the sport of ultra-marathon mountaineering happen.”