When you do a little research on people who are involved in charity fundraisers, you can read some pretty amazing stories about people throughout the world who are doing good works for others. I read about one such individual tonight who happens to be training to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro – and that obviously caught my attention. To learn that he will reach the summit on International Women’s Day (March 8), it made this story even more special! (This awesome graphic was borrowed from the Grafton TAFE Library)
I love to read other peoples motivations and expectations about their climb, and can feel the emotion in their stories about training to take on the highest free standing mountain on earth. What is it about Mt. Kilimanjaro that calls us to reach the summit? I may not come to understand that question until my feet are firmly planted on the mountain’s soil.
Conquering Kilimanjaro requires mental stamina
From Monday’s Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011 4:00PM EST
Bill Roberts, the 58-year-old president and CEO of ZoomerMedia, Television Division, is an avid mountaineer who’s training to reach a new fitness peak. This month, the Toronto-based executive will climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for CARE Canada to empower women in developing countries with economic opportunities.
“To reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, African’s highest mountain at 19, 400 feet, on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8.”
“I play tennis twice a week and I’m working on my black belt in Shotokan karate. I lift weights and go to a climbing gym when I can.”
“The principal skills for climbing are balance and lower-body strength. I began alpine climbing with Outward Bound 30 years ago and learned rope work, crevasse awareness, glacier travel and vertical faces. For Kilimanjaro, my training involves long walks carrying a 40-pound pack. Because of its geography, there are no ice or glacial hazards, but a serious concern is altitude. People can get acute altitude symptoms [such as cerebral or pulmonary edemas] as low as 8,500 feet. There is no training for altitude. But the route I’m using goes up and down and my experience in climbing says it’s the safest way of acclimatizing to altitude.”
“Being a president involves regulatory work and connection to other parts of the company such as radio stations and the magazine. There’s a lot of paying attention to a computer screen and not a lot of mobility. I avoid salt, sugar and processed foods. I appreciate good food and wine. I get only six hours of sleep a night, but I use melatonin to compensate.”
“The normal pattern for charity work in developing countries is to pump rewards towards institutions run by men, but I’m interested in not doing that normal thing.
“Another motivation is Greg Mortenson, a climber and author of Three Cups of Tea, which tells the story of taking his climbing commitment to northern Pakistan and the building of schools for girls and the tremendous change that brought about.”
“When I climb the Adirondacks or Appalachians, I love Bruce Cockburn’s The Trouble with Normal. But with this climb, I’ll want to pay attention to my body and surroundings.”
Keep spirits up
Eddie Frank, owner and founder of Tusker Trail, who will guide Mr. Roberts’ trek, says physical fitness is only five per cent of the climb – 95 per cent is mental fitness. “Self-doubt is the biggest undoing,” Mr. Frank says. “So have faith in expert guides that they will get you through safely; then you don’t have anxiety of the unknown about what’s going to happen to your body as you go up.”
Climbing slowly is key to this ascent, says Mr. Frank, even though some trekkers try to take as few as three days to get to the summit. “My group will take nine days because the more time you allow your body to adjust to the altitude means you’re less likely to encounter problems. The climb is not a competition so don’t pit yourself against the mountain and race up it. Overconfidence is not a good thing.”
Reading this story, I could not help but feel that Bill and I have a few things in common in our life style. I think our heads may be in a similar place in regards to our climb. I am thrilled to know that Bill is climbing with Eddie Frank, of Tusker Trail. This is the same company who will lead Parker’s Climb to the summit in July.
When I read that Bill’s climb is nine days, I automatically knew that he is taking the same route that we are taking – the Lemosho route. I have no doubt that Bill will reach the summit – and about four months after he summits, the Parker’s Climb team will follow in his foot steps – up the very same route. Bill will reach the summit on March 8, on a very special day – for a very special cause. I love the motivation behind this story!
Parker’s Climb sends our very best wishes to you Bill as you are in your last few days of training! Bill you are going to do well on this climb – you have a world of women waiting for you to reach the summit in their honor! God Speed and a safe climb! Your charity is inspiring – you will help to change lives all across the world. I hope in a different way, Parker’s Climb can do so as well! pkp
About CARE Canada:
Our Mission and Vision
CARE is Canada’s global force dedicated to defending dignity and fighting poverty by empowering the world’s most vulnerable and greatest resource for change : women and girls. We proudly partner with Canadians from coast to coast, and in the communities in which we work, to make this goal a reality.
CARE Canada’s mission is to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. Drawing strength from our global diversity, resources and experience, we promote innovative solutions and are advocates for global responsibility. We facilitate lasting change by:
Strengthening capacity for self-help;
Influencing policy decisions at all levels;
Providing economic opportunity;
Addressing discrimination in all its forms;
Delivering relief in emergencies.
Guided by the aspirations of local communities, we pursue our mission with both excellence and compassion because the people whom we serve deserve nothing less.
We seek a world of hope, tolerance and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and people live in dignity and security.
CARE Canada will be a global force and a partner of choice within a worldwide movement dedicated to ending poverty. We will be known everywhere for our unshakable commitment to the dignity of people.