Class of 2008 grad reflects on Kilimanjaro experience
By Dan Cherico '08
In the time since I returned from Mt. Kilimanjaro, I've reflected on the experience and all that I learned. I'd like to thank everyone who supported my climb. Because of the generosity of my sponsors, 30 kids will experience the beauty and life-changing power of the wilderness through the Big City Mountaineers program.
As Rogati, one of my Tanzanian guides would say, "Your training is only so much; the mountain decides who will get to the top." My months of physical preparation had me ready to challenge the mountain, but the fates had different plans for us.
While at our high camp at around 15,000 ft., less than three hours before the start of our push to the summit, one of my fellow climbers had a medical emergency that required her to be carried down the mountain in the middle of the night by our six guides. With too few guides and lacking emergency medical supplies, we could not safely continue in the 60+ mph winds we would have encountered had we tried to go forward.
Although I did not reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, I was able to climb to a high point of 15,170 ft. (In this photo, I'm proudly holding the Bearcat flag at 13,000 ft.) That was a personal best for me, and higher than any point in the lower 48 states. Mountaineering has a saying that certainly applies to my trip: The summit is for the ego; the journey is for the soul.
The time I spent in Tanzania exceeded every expectation I had for the trip. The people were extremely friendly. My guides were knowledgeable. My team was full of spirit and the mountain was more beautiful than I could have imagined. This is not the end, but a continuing journey. And, one day, I will plant the Binghamton flag at the top of Kilimanjaro! Go Bearcats!