Steve Vogel wrote -
On September 22, 2012 ...
... seven of us with no clue will begin a long hike up to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro—at 19,340 feet, the tallest, most iconic rock in Africa. We're mostly aging skiers, over-the-hill marathoners, senior softballers -- all of us creeky in the joints. None of us are serious backpackers. Climbing "one of the world's seven summits" is way out of our collective wheelhouse. I haven't slept outdoors in a tent since Cub Scouts, some fifty years ago...
WHATEVER. We're climbing for ...
... a little adventure and to raise funds to end prostate cancer, which affects one in every six American men. One in six. That would be me. My Dad. We had the mutant gene.That puts my son Nick, my brother Kurt and his four sons in the genetic crosshairs. So my climb is personal.
But prostate cancer threatens many families today, genetics being just one of the risk factors. It's the second deadliest cancer for men. Yet, the best treatments in half the cases can be worse than the disease. It sucks.
Diagnosed in 2008, I wrote a book about my experience with PC. I also learned how close science was getting to a cure. So to help push things along, we're using the climb to support the Prostate Cancer Foundation, because of their many great contributions to prostate cancer research. Here is a sample of some of the exciting projects PCF is funding.
We're asking for your help—to kick a buck or two.
Every dollar counts, so even a $5 or $10 dondation is deeply appreciated. When you donate to our Kilimanjaro climb, your tax-deductible contribution goes to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the important work they're doing to find better PC screens, better therapies and the Holy Grail itself, a cure.
A WORD ABOUT OUR GROUP AND THE CLIMB...
Not being mountain climbers, we all began training a full year in advance. All of us are between ages 50 and 69, not-ancient-but. There's my anything-goes adventure buddy Roy Bleeker (nuclear engineer), and then the rest are family: my brother Kurt (IT sales guru), Ed Smith (retired crime analyst), Mark Chelmowski (doctor), Chris Lundborg (super cop), David Rose (globe-trotting engineer), and my uncle Len Rose (print-business owner) who initiated the Kili climb idea last summmer.
We plan to hike the remote Lemosho Route over 8 days, slowly pushing into higher altitudes to acclimatize our bodies and avoid the dreaded AMS -- Acute Mountain Sickness. It's not a climb without risk, but we've hired expert guides, plus we're bringing along extra oxygen to toot on should things get dicey.
On the seventh day, after trekking through rainforest, arid scrubs, rock fields and scaling The Great Barranco Wall, we reach a final base camp at 15,500 feet. From there, at midnight, we start a six-hour assault up the final 4,000 feet -- under a full moon -- to summit at dawn. We'll take photos along the way and maybe write something up, although the alluring "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" seems to be taken.
Till then, we train, Running, slogging up Stairmasters and parking lot ramps, dragging a tire over a bridge and back (for flatlanders, video coming) ... taking extra Celebrex .... doing what we can to reach two summits: Kili and a cure for prostate cancer.
Thanks for your support!