Sunday, September 11, 2016

Stage Six: The Delaware 5 Summit!

From 10pm on, many friends and family members all over the country were on the edge of our seats, anxiously waiting for news from our Delaware crew.  The call finally came at 1AM our time, 8AM Africa time, with outstanding news.  All of the Delaware crew, Randy and Alex, and the Barr team (Dan, Paula, and Caroline) had just summited the enormous and challenging 19, 341 foot high Kilimanjaro and were starting their LONG descent down.  We just spoke very briefly to Randy and then Alex as they were freezing and drained and needed to conserve all energy and focus on heading down the hill. We weren't able to speak to Paula since everyone was working hard and so cold, but we know they are safe and made it to the top, and I hope to talk to her in a few hours before they all crawl into their tents for many hours.

Here's a quick recap; I'll post the details later when I talk to them from Lower Camp. Remarkably, they are still making their way back down to the Mweka Camp at 10,000', I'm sure almost asleep on their feet.  We learned that 7 of the 10 teammates had made it to the top, our Delaware 5 plus Russell (26 year old from Virginia) and Thomas (32 from San Fransisco).  What an amazing accomplishment!  And kudos to the other 3 for making it as far as they did.

We will hear much more when they aren't gasping for breath and freezing, but here's a bit of what they said:

Randy: We did it! We were just on the summit and we're heading down now. All the Delaware 5 made it. It was tough, very tough, but we pulled through and did it. It's very cold. It took us 7 hours and 45 minutes. We have a long road ahead of us getting back down so we need to hang up and focus. Tell everyone we love them and we'll call from camp.

From Alex: It was amazing but so tough. About 5 hours into it I was really hurting; I just couldn't get my heart rate down; it was so hard.  The team took my pack and helped me through it, and I pushed through. The team was unbelievable. The Delaware team kicked butt!

I just wanted to pass on this amazing news.  I'm sure later we'll have more to share and hopefully even summit pictures from their head guide.  From the summit, they had to descent back to Barafu Camp at 15,000 feet.  There they would pack up their gear, change into lighter clothing, have a quick lunch, and hit the trail to head down to Mweka Camp at 10,065 feet. That's 6300 feet of ascent and 9300 feet of descent in last 36 hours. Impressive performance from the First State and the rest of the team!

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