Saturday, November 22, 2008

11.21.08: The Summit Will Wait For You, Ann Curry

I hope by now Ann Curry and her team has made her way down Mount Kilimanjaro safely.
For those of you who haven't been following her journey on The Today Show's spectacular Ends of the Earth broadcasts, she and her team turned back on the trail to the summit of the world's tallest freestanding mountain. The altitude sickness and the approaching weather proved too daunting and they made a group decision not to make the last push to the 19,343-foot summit.

During my trek there in 2007, one of the members of our team did not summit. She had been sick just before the climb and was going through some tough personal stuff. It was heartbreaking for her, for all of us. The environment on Kilimanjaro is rough -- really rough.

During one of Ann Curry's reports, she said it was a struggle even to get out of the tent. It's true. You walk painstakingly slow to get to the top of the mountain. It's a way to let your body adjust to the altitude -- but really, if your body isn't used to the altitude, it's all you can manage.

I've read that Ann had three weeks to prepare for the journey, something that may have set her up for failure. It was wonderful for the Today Show to highlight the disappearing glaciers on the mountain -- and important cause for the world to care about -- but it may have been unrealistic to expert Ann and her five-person team to summit.

That person in my team who didn't summit is returning to the mountain this February to give it another go. I'm sure this time she'll make it -- her strength on the first attempt was astounding and she's been thinking and preparing for the top of the mountain for two years now.

Pole, Pole (slowly, slowly) Ann. I loved what one of the porters said to Ann during her trek. To paraphase, the summit will wait and she's smiling at you.

I'm looking for an eight-person team to join me on my trek up the Kilimanjaro in December 2009, as the finale of my Save the World Diet effort (one physical challenge each month for charity). I'd be honored to have Ann -- or any of the members of her crew -- along with with me for the journey.

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