Mountain of Greatness

It turns out that  Mt. Kilimanjaro actually has three summits.  Uhuru Peak is simply the tip top and the most famous!  This is the peak Ben was able to reach.  However, Howard and Max did reach a different recognized summit known as Stella Point.  This means that technically all three of them successfully reached a location that is a recognized summit and received certificates of achievement when they returned to the gate to check out.  While they did not get to experience the euphoria of triumphing Uhuru Peak together; all three DID SUMMIT!!!!!

The certificate looks like this:

When I spoke to them about 10:30 AM Chicago time, they had just arrived back at The African Tulip.  Howard said the descent was “brutal”.  I don’t yet know the details of Max’s ordeal but I do know that although the climb is technically not as challenging as when climbing the high peaks of the Himalayas or Andes, the high elevation, low temperature, and occasional high winds make this a difficult and dangerous trek. Acclimatisation is essential, and even the most experienced trekkers suffer some degree of altitude sickness. Kilimanjaro summit is well above the altitude at which high altitude pulmonary edema or high altitude cerebral edema can occur.  All trekkers will suffer considerable discomfort, typically shortage of breath, hypothermia, and headaches.  The average summit success rate is 66% with over 25,000 visitors attempting it annually.

The Origin of the Name

The origin of the name “Kilimanjaro” is not precisely known, but a number of theories exist. European explorers had adopted the name by 1860 and reported that “Kilimanjaro” was the mountain’s Kiswahili name. But according to the 1907 edition of The Nuttall Encyclopædia, the name of the mountain was “Kilima-Njaro” and it means “mountain of greatness”.

After four years of training, two attempts and a lot of grit, motivation and heart I am proud to say that while the journey did not meet their dream ending of standing triumphantly atop Uhuru Peak together; it met our family goals and our parenting goals.  It bonded them in a way that cannot ever be taken from them!  Both attempts are experiences they will never forget and along the way they reached personal goals, faced challenges, made life-altering decisions, stayed motivated; showed grit, and made friends all over the world.  The “mountain of greatness” proved to be just so…but it didn’t conquer them.  They conquered it…and Max and Ben are stronger young men for the experience.  Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy!  They have learned this and that is the best thing of all.  On top of it, they raised money for a worthy cause and became global citizens with a global awareness we could not have given them sitting safely at home.

So it is that I end this daily blog.  I cannot get over that this reached 894 people yesterday.  It is mind-boggling!  When Shayna and I went to breakfast today, half the restaurant stopped me to say “Congratulations!” or “How are they?” Incredible!

I will post again when I have stories and photos to share…or perhaps they can each post their own account of their experience.  In any case, thank you for supporting our family and following this journey with us!

Sincerely,
Anne

P.S.  You can still contribute to their Magen David Adom ambulance fund if you’d like!

 

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