JOSH’S JOURNEY TO THE SUMMIT OF KILIMANJARO IN SUPPORT OF ISU FIRST GENERATION STUDENTS

About Mount Kilimanjaro:

  • The highest mountain in Africa (19,341 feet)
  • Fourth highest of the 7 summits (the highest mountain on each continent)
  • Consists of 3 volcanic cones:
    • Kibo, dormant (19,340 feet)
    • Mawenzi - extinct (16,893 feet)
    • Shira - extinct (13,000 feet)
  • Located in Tanzania, 200 miles south of the equator
  • Altitude sickness is the #1 cause for evacuation
  • Temperatures on the summit can fall to -20 degrees Fahrenheit

Before the Journey & getting there:

  • I am training via a variety of cross-training methods, particularly utilizing interval techniques (i.e., 1-3 minutes of high intensity activity followed by 30 seconds to 2 minutes of recovery.
  • Although high altitude training is not possible in Indiana, I am taking advantage of stair training in area facilities of multiple stories. I am also experimenting with a high altitude training mask that simulates altitude.
  • Flying to Tanzania takes two days: Indy to Detroit; Detroit to Amsterdam; Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro International Airport.

Goat Trail, Wrangell-
St. Alias National Park, Alaska 

The climb itself:

  • The actual climb via guided expedition takes 7 days (Sept. 12-18), 5 days to get to the summit and 2 days to descend.
  • We pass through 5 ecosystems – cultivated land, rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert, and arctic summit.
  • There is snow on the summit year-round and the mountain is so large that it creates its own weather systems.
  • Summit day is anticipated to be Sunday, Sept. 17.

Why he is doing this:

  • A climb like this is hard, especially when one is 53. I want to push myself to achieve this lifelong goal.
  • College is also hard, and can be especially so for first generation college students who often have little family guidance to navigate the experience and are also disproportionately low income.
  • I commonly hear from first gens in their last semester or two and struggling to pay for a final few classes before graduation. This increasingly happens because aid programs run out (many are now time bounded) or not available when a student doesn’t need to enroll full-time to finish.
  • My goal is to raise at least $19,341 (the height of Kilimanjaro), funds that can then be deployed to assist a first gen student to register and finish their degree rather than delay it or potentially not finish at all.

Follow Josh’s blog as he trains, speaks about first gens, climbs, and reflects on the experience.  

See more from the Indiana State University Newsroom


At elevation with climbing team – Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Machu Picchu, Peru with daughter