Pre-climb update

Hi Everybody!

Welcome to the Operation Climb blog!  The guys are all on their way!  James left yesterday and Howard, Max and Ben left today.  I will try to keep you updated as much as I can.  It is unsure how often this will be since until they are actually on the mountain we won’t know how well the communication technology will work.  The plan for the next two days is that they will meet up at their hotel in Arusha, Tanzania on Sunday.  For those of you in Chicago, that will be around 4:00 PM.  They will rest and on Monday meet with their guide.  On Tuesday morning they will be driven 2 hours to the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and will officially start their climb!  They plan to climb between 5-6 hours a day in order to adjust slowly to the changing altitude.  The first ecosystem will be the Serengeti.

This is the first time they will be in the southern hemisphere.  Since there is no ambient light coming from anywhere; they are excited to see the stars!  For the holidays, Howard received a guide to the southern hemisphere constellations which he is really excited to be using.  This is really going to be a major education on many levels.

During this experience the guys have received some media attention (which will continue after the climb) and I have been asked “if I’m okay with this adventure.”  Today, after they left at 1:30, I’ve had a chance to reflect since the past few days have been frenetic with packing, etc.  I guess one of my guiding principles as a parent can be summed up in the phrase “roots and wings”.  It is easy to give your child roots; it is the wings that is tough.  This has been Howard’s dream since the day I met him 22 years ago.  To give him his dream with his sons and a favorite cousin is my gift.  To teach my boys how to prepare and follow through with hard work in order to achieve their dreams and to give them this opportunity to learn this first hand during their formative years is something I felt was bigger than my personal feelings of missing them.  I know when they experience hard times in their life that they will always have this experience.  No one will ever take it away from them.  They will know that they can do anything with hard work and effort.  They are sharing a lifelong experience together.  The icing on the cake is that they are also doing it for a cause close to all of their hearts – MDA!  They fully intend to fundraise until they can buy that ambulance!  What an amazing lesson!

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