March 5 (evening) – Climbing for Your Memory

Listen to Audio of Wally's Call (.wav)

I’m calling you on March 5th and we’ve made it, we are at high camp and in place to attempt to summit Kilimanjaro tomorrow; finally after days of enjoyable and challenging trekking. The big joke so to speak with this group was that every day we kept saying this is the best day yet and now in the 5th full day we had yet another best day yet and of course we are counting on that trend continuing as we climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro.

KiboThe very top of Kilimanjaro is Uhuru or ‘freedom peak’ in Swahili at 19,340 feet (5894 meters). We all hope to be there tomorrow. We are all here at high camp as I mentioned; Laurie, Larry, Michel, Julie, Sharon, George, Brian, John, Charlie, Angie, Paul, Dennis and myself and of course the Chagga guides and staff.

To describe the scene to you, we are at 15,700 feet (4785 meters), it feels high up and in the rarified air you can tell when you are walking around that there is a shortness of oxygen here. We have had beautiful clear skies all morning as we typically do but the clouds have moved in and recently it has begun to snow lightly.

It’s about 3:30pm now and we’ll be eating a supper in a half hour at 4:00pm and we’ll be settling down believe it or not at 5:00pm in the afternoon for some sleep before we wake up at 11:00pm tonight and hopefully we’ll be underway and climbing through the brilliant full moonlit upper slopes of Kilimanjaro, through the long darkness hours in the morning before we get the sunrise around 7:00am up at the crater rim. SharonThat’s the plan and we’ll certainly report to you as soon as we can tomorrow as to how it actually went. You should know that as we settle down tonight we’re confident, we’re proud that we are here and we appreciate the support back home.

I would say to sum it up, the feelings of this group right now reflect on a quote from Jim Allen “If you are not living on the edge you are taking up to much space”. I think in the memory of Jim, also Sharon’s husband Steven Babineau, Mary Streich and Normand Martel along with a lot of others that have been lost to ALS from families and the community of this group and I know that a lot of people around the world that are watching us. We will be climbing for your memory tomorrow; we are living on the edge, loving life and living it to our fullest. It will be hard tomorrow but we are going to be giving it our best effort and we’ll report to you from somewhere up high on Kilimanjaro tomorrow morning.