How do you de-stress? Unum’s Dave Sherman does it at 23,000 feet up

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How do you de-stress? Unum’s Dave Sherman does it at 23,000 feet up

Many of us turn to activities like yoga or running to de-stress after a long day at work. Dave Sherman, senior sales associate for employee benefits provider Unum, takes de-stressing to new heights. Literally.

For the past 10 years Sherman has been a competitive cyclist, sometimes climbing 6,000 feet and riding for 110 miles at a time. Just last year, he reached “Cat. 1” status, the highest certification of USA Cycling.

When his wheels aren’t spinning, Sherman climbs on foot. A 20-year climbing veteran, his peak accomplishment was Aconcagua, which, at 23,000 feet, is the tallest mountain in South America. Dave reached an elevation of 20,000 feet before a snowstorm stranded him and other climbers for four days.

“Fitness and staying active have always been important to me,” said Sherman of Portland, Ore. “Being in sales can be a very stressful occupation. So there is nothing better to burn off a little steam than being outside, doing something I love.”

His love for climbing extends to the Portland Mountain Rescue. Sherman is a volunteer on a 70-person team that provides search-and-rescue services on Mt. Hood, Oregon’s tallest peak.

“Bike racing is a sport, so you’re always competing against other cyclists,” he said. “But mountain climbing, and especially being a part of the mountain rescue team, allows me to work with and help my fellow climbers. It offsets the competitive nature of bike racing and is very rich and satisfying.”

His most memorable rescue effort was in 2002 when he helped rescue nine people who found themselves in dire circumstances on Mt. Hood. A military helicopter assisting with the rescue crashed as it attempted to land. The pilot survived but other lives were lost. Sherman and the Portland Mountain Rescue team spent hours transporting the deceased and injured off the mountain.

“There are no words to describe the emotions I felt during that rescue mission,” Sherman said. “People climb mountains like Mt. Hood because of the overwhelming freedom one experiences while navigating the timberline and terrain. So to be able to be there to help climbers when needed was an amazing thing.”