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Minneapolis climber plans to tweet from Mt. Everest

Stephen Regenold on the summit of Mt. Rainier

Stephen Regenold on the summit of Mt. Rainier

Stephen Regenold has slogged his way to the top of the tallest peaks in the United States, including Washington's Mt. Rainier and California's Mt. Whitney. But in April, the Minneapolis freelance writer will be journeying to the tallest mountain in the world: Mt. Everest. And he'll be tweeting about his experience from a tent at 17,700 feet.

Sadly, Regenold says, he won't be bagging the peak. But since someone else is footing the bill for his trip, to say nothing of the pricey equipment needed to record and transmit his missives to the Internet, he's not really complaining.

Still, "It'll be hard for me to just sit there and report." 

In August, Regenold signed on with "Expedition Champion," led by Canadian climber and Everest veteran Jamie Clarke and sponsored by Hanesbrands. The idea is to spend some quality time at extreme elevations and weather -- in what climbers call the "death zone" -- and field test some new high-tech togs made by the Hanes research scientists for its Champion and Duofold clothing lines. (And get some good PR to boot.)

Regenold, whose writing about adventure sports, travel and gear appears in The New York Times, and locally in the Star Tribune, also runs a Web site called The Gear Junkie -- he knows from gear testing. And he was a little hesitant that he might turn into a corporate mouthpiece. But the company won him over when they flew him down to its headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C. and he got a look at some of the products involved in the expedition, which includes a high-altitude suit that uses nanotechnology derived from gas pipeline insulation.

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold

He was also assured that he'd be writing about the whole experience of the trip, not just the clothing. He's already ben updating his Web site with news about the coming adventure. 

Regenold leaves for Nepal in April, when he'll join other expedition members in the week-long trek to basecamp at 17,000 feet. There, outfitted with computers, cameras, camcorders and satellite phones, he'll update the expedition's official Web site, Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as his own blog, on the group's progress as it prepares for its summit attempt. Stephanie Pearson, who pens Outside Magazine's Gear Girl column, will arrive later and take over from Regenold.

The Hanes marketing department is "really amped up on social media," Regenold said. Augmenting his own work, the expedition Web site is promoting a space to upload written and video posts about personal goals called "What's Your Everest?"

"I'm excited about it," he said. Along with his outdoor adventures, "Social media has become a big part of my life."

Follow Regenold at www.gearjunkie.com, on Twitter @TheGearJunkie and on Facebook.