Kilimanjaro 2016: Father and son adventure together

“In order to really enjoy the climb I’m going to have to turn away from focusing only on the summit and see if I can break it down to moment by moment."

At the time of this posting, Larry, 60, the owner of a leading agricultural company, and his son Jonathan, 21, are already in Kenya, having arrived a few days ahead of the rest of the Medcan group.  Larry and Jonathan are spending their pre-climb days visiting a local orphanage founded and directed by a friend from their community in Simcoe, Ontario. We spoke with Larry ahead of his departure.

Climbing in full respect of the mountain

“I am approaching the climb with the full respect for the mountain, especially given what we’ve read and researched about altitude and physical strain. We are Type A people and normally won’t attempt endeavours we don’t plan to fully succeed at, so the thought that some uncontrollable element like our personal reaction to high altitude may prevent us from reaching the peak is outside of our comfort level, for sure.”

Physical outcomes of training

“Every day since committing to this trip 5 months ago I have been training daily. The commitment to the climb has been a huge motivator to stick to the training, and people remark on  the change in my physical appearance. I’ve been told I look like I’ve lost 10 or 20 pounds; I have had to get clothing altered.”

Connecting with the Kenyan community

“Since I’m leaving my farms in the height of the summer, we are taking full advantage of this opportunity. This includes a visit to a wonderful orphanage called Tumaini, which houses and supports over 50 children and has outreach branches in and near Arusha, Tanzania. We will also visit outlying townships as well to view a social entrepreneurship project involving young men and women who are graduates of the children’s school and home. After the climb – which I hope we summit together – we are going on a safari to appreciate that aspect of the region. It’s full on, and I’m very happy to share this experience with my son. He is off to graduate school next year, so this is an incredible experience for the two of us at a great time.”

Managing expectations

“In order to really enjoy the climb I’m going to have to turn away from focusing only on the summit and see if I can break it down to moment by moment. Step by step. My son and I are amateur photographers, so that will also be something we can enjoy doing together – capturing the sites and bringing it home to our communities for a slide show of our experience, so other people can share in our journey. In terms of summiting, if the doctors tell me that medically it’s not wise to move on, then of course I will accept it, Although we realize that the journey is of greatest importance doing everything that is required to reach the summit is really important to both of us.”

Feeling grateful for health and mobility

“In the grand scheme of things though, I am very grateful that I am even healthy enough to do this. Twelve years ago I was nearly crippled with sciatic back pain from herniated discs. It was so bad, I was only a week away from surgery. Thanks to a customized physiotherapy approach and lifestyle changes, I was able to virtually eliminate the pain and strengthen my back and posture. This has allowed me to attempt Kilimanjaro today. What a blessing.”

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