Alpha Athletes-Part of the Pack

four people in A1F-branded bicycle gear smiling for a photo together

Congratulations to Rob Ploke who submitted Kangchenjunga the third-highest mountain in the world at 28,169 feet. Rob, a longtimefriend of the Chairman of the Alpha-1 Foundation Board of Directors, Jon Hagstrom, decided to hike in honor of Jon and the entire Alpha-1 Community. Rob carried an Alpha-1 Foundation flag with him and is pictured holding the flag at the intermediate peak near Kangchenjunga, locally known as ‘Domo Re’ 6,121m (20,082 ft).

Rob and Jon’s over 30-year friendship dates back to when they became friends through their international work. Fast forward to September 2022 when Rob and other lifelong friends joined Jon’s team “Team Alpha Dogs” to participate in Escape to the Cape in Cape Cod, MA. Riding together as a pack the team biked 100 miles in two days and raised over $12,000. Rob was so inspired by the Alpha-1 Community and the spirit of the community that he decided to honor Jon in his next adventure that had already been planned. Rob successfully hiked Mt. Kanchenjunga adding number six to his summits list.

“Rob’s one of the most curious and adventurous people I’ve ever met.  I’m continuously amazed by these feats of his and proud he represented the Alpha-1 community on this climb,” exclaimed Jon Hagstrom.

Thank you, Rob, for showing a true testament of friendship, commitment, and going to great heights to spread awareness for Alpha-1.  Your hike has inspired many and coincides perfectly with Alpha-1 Awareness Month and the Alpha-1 Virtual Walk!

If you are an Alpha Athlete or know family or friends that are and who are interested in spreading awareness and raising funds for Alpha-1 research and related programs, please contact Angela McBride at

Some interesting facts about Kangchenjunga:

  • Kangchenjunga sometimes spelled Kanchenjunga or Kinchinjunga is the third highest mountain in the world, with an elevation of 8,586 meters (28,169 feet).
  • It is a mountain of the Himalaya range, and lies partly in Nepal and partly in Sikkim, India.
  • Kangchenjunga is the highest mountain in India and second highest in Nepal (after Mt. Everest).
  • Mount Kangchenjunga lies about 125 kilometers (78 miles) east-south-east of Mount Everest.
  • The name Kangchenjunga translates “Five Treasures of Snow,” referring to Kangchenjunga’s five peaks.
  • Kanchenjunga is composed of rocks of Neoproterozoic (late Precambrian) to Ordovician age (i.e., about 445 million to 1 billion years old).
  • Kangchenjunga does not have an “easy” route as the threat of avalanche is high.