July 14, 2002 Success on the Rooftop of Africa
Well we made it!
Berg Adventures International team is, the entire team, all 10 of us, are on the Top of Africa; George Carabeta is over at Stella Point right now, at 19,000 feet; he and the guide August made it that far, we’ve been on radio communication and George was really good to follow my advice to not continue out to Uhuru, due to our time limitations; he had great heart and great spirits today, he just climbed a little bit slower, I saw him just before Stella Point and he looked great and he is feeling good with his accomplishments over there.
The rest of the team, the rest of the nine of us, Dennis and Becky Comfort, Richard Waddell, Katherine Waddell, Deke, Karen, of course that exceptional high school principal, adventurer, climber and world traveler, Mary Bente all made it to Uhuru (Freedom in Swahili), the very top of Africa.
One more person that it may seem that I have not mentioned specially, because he and I were just off away from the rest hugging each other and crying our eyes out a few minutes ago, is Dr. Charles Martin, age 65. He and I have dreamed about coming back here together for more than a year, and this fellow put all of his heart, everything he had into this climb, and he said many times, “I thought about this mountain every night this year”. He trained, he was a lot stronger than he was last time, he made all the right choices and decisions. As a mountaineer does, he learned from his mistakes, and came back and tried again, and this time on a glorious morning Charles Martin was standing on the summit of Kilimanjaro. It was really a great, great scene.
We have all started down now, I am just catching up with this dispatch, we have a long way to go, to get off of the mountain, and we are excited about our upcoming adventures. Coming towards the summit today, I saw a very familiar face, underneath a balaclava, wool hat, and big smile. It was a very good friend of mine who works at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge and has welcomed my guests there for years and years along with the rest of that staff. He was here climbing Kilimanjaro and of course he was not surprised to see me. He said that “I was thinking about you Wally because I know this is your mountain where you come before you bring your guests down to the safari”. We had a great chat, we are going to be all together again in just a few days when the team gets to Ngorongoro. Of course the team is going to first get ourselves off this mountain in 2 long days, get to Arusha, fly to Serengeti, spend a couple of days out there, do the Balloon ride, the Balloon over Serengeti, then we work our way back to Ngorongoro, then we will be reunited with our buddies there. It is a place where I have lots of friends.
So this is just the beginning for some of us, but we’ve tried hard and a have great feeling of gratification, we are walking exhausted, tired, but we have a long ways to go off this mountain, but we made it and I want to send the best wishes to everyone that’s been following us in the States and Canada.