Partners In Climb is entering our last few days of preparations for our attempt on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Our team will be departing Thursday, February 6th and arriving in Moshi, Tanzania at various times on Saturday the 8th. It seems like just yesterday that we threw out this wild idea of tackling the highest peak in Africa, and now here we are just a matter of days away from this great adventure.

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When we came together as a team and decided we were going to do this, our goals were varied but centered on testing our limits out in the wilds of Earth. Over time those goals have remained but have been joined by even more important aspirations. Now just days away, it is enlightening to see where we have come from and what we have accomplished to this point. The biggest lesson we have learned is that in our quest to immerse ourselves in this objective, we must also consider how our movement affects the wild places we love and the people who call them home.

For that reason we have been raising money to help support a free and low cost medical clinic in Kisumu, Kenya. We believe that giving back to the community we visit is essential for responsible stewardship. When we committed to making this part of our climb and our efforts, we set the goal of raising $1.00 for every foot high Kilimanjaro stands. Though we came up short of that goal, we have still raised $1,700 to this point for Community Health Concern in Kisumu. This money, along with other support, has allowed this clinic to open and to serve hundreds of people already, with many more to come in the future. You can still donate for the cause at Partners In Climb.

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Along with the philanthropic aspect of our trip, there is the goal of preparing physically for this climb. Since our last update we have continued to train hard through hiking and strength exercise to prepare our bodies for what will prove to be a difficult journey. For our last training excursion we set out together to climb up to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier on January 26th. Due to unprecedented winter weather, the forecast called for 60 degree temps at Paradise with low 40’s at 10,200 feet.

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With beautiful weather boosting our spirits and the constant, imposing, yet comforting presence of Rainier as our guide, we made the trip up to the camp with scores of other folks. As we sat at Camp Muir digesting and attempting to describe the scene that lay out before us, we all agreed our confidence could not be higher. At that moment, together at one of the most beautiful places on Earth, we became truly ready for what lies ahead.

We were thankful for the workout and for the acclimatization that spending time above 10,000 feet would offer us. We made our way back to Paradise, finding glissade paths where we could and drinking in the last fleeting panoramas of a fading day. Taking stock of all the hikes, runs, climbs, walks, pushups, sit-ups, and gallons of sweat, feel  very prepared for our climb.

An image has stuck with me throughout this process and it seems to capture how I feel about his climb. When we spend our energy, our sweat, and our time communing with nature and striving for the high points of the places we love, we usually don’t find finality once we get there. No matter how high the peak, we still look around and see the same thing: more peaks and more places to explore. Atop that peak we realize how small we really are and how new our journey really is. For me, here in this excursion, I have found not an ending point, but simply the beginning of so much more to come. Partners In Climb is grateful for the support we’ve received to this point and we look forward to bringing back the stories of the trail when we return.

I can’t wait to share the climb with all of you. Until next time.

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