MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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September 28, 2011

Kilimanjaro: Climb for the Cause reflections

Some of you may have been following the wonderful dispatches from Kilimanjaro as Olivia Simonson called in on the sat phone nearly every day with an update of their group's progress. Olivia and her father Clif climbed Kilimanjaro with Mountain Madness in June and used their adventure to help raise money for their non-profit organization Climb For The Cause. (They are less than $1,500 away from their $100,000 goal!) Now that the group has reentered reality and goes about their daily routine, Olivia reflects on the wonderful trip that she shared with 17 other climbers on their journey to the roof of Africa.

Olivia and Dean calling the MM office with a dispatch. Clif Simonson photo

"Reflecting back on my trip to Kilimanjaro I can't help but smile. The trip was, without a doubt, one that I will never forget. Although the experience had its high times and its low times nothing can top the people, the sights or the feeling I had on the summit.  Its almost hard to explain how you feel about Kilimanjaro because during the climb you feel so many different things at once. You feel winded, but you can't help but to be curious about what's around you. You feel sick, but you can't help but to marvel at the glacier towering over you. It all feels so surreal. The whole time I couldn't believe that I was actually there. I had anticipated the trip so much that by the time I got there it exceeded my hopes and expectations.

Mess tent. Clif Simonson photo

The Western Breach as seen from the Shira Plateau. Clif Simonson photo

Olivia and Clif Simonson. Clif Simonson photo

Camp on the plateau. Clif Simonson photo

"The crew we had helping us was terrific. Everyday I felt like I owed my porter my soul for helping me with my gaiters and boots when I was feeling so tired. The fun we had as a group outweighed any soreness or exhaustion that we experienced. I feel like if we would have had a different group of people the trip wouldn't have been as great as it was. But I must say; my toes are STILL numb from that long downhill after summit day.

Friendly porters. Clif Simonson photo

Climbing up the Breach to Crater Camp. Clif Simonson photo

Up the Breach. Clif Simonson photo

"It was a trek, there is no denying that, but the more patient I was about climbing the faster that summit day arrived. On our first day it felt like glory was a million miles away but, as time passed and the topography changed, our legs brought us up higher and higher and it suddenly dawned on me that this was going to happen.  And when I did reach the top, I reached the glory that was packaged with it. I will never forget that day the smiles on everyones faces, the cheering, or the beauty that surrounded us.

Crater, with Mt. Meru in the background. Clif Simonson photo

Crater camp- just a short hike to the summit from here! Clif Simonson photo

Glacier remnants. Clif Simonson photo

"The only word to describe that moment on the summit is AWESOME, or at least that's the simplest way to put it.

Yahoo! Clif Simonson photo

Climb for the Cause banner- congrats on the fundraising effort! Clif Simonson photo

"When we left the mountain two days later, we stood in camp and our crew sang us the Kilimanjaro song. I couldn't help but to tear up.  Our lead guide Ben had always told us that we were a family but it wasn't until that moment that I really felt like I was parting with my newfound family. That these people, porters and fellow climbers alike, who had seen me at my worst and at my best, were about to part ways with me.

On the way to safari. Clif Simonson photo

Hanging out with local Masaai. Clif Simonson photo

Local girls dressed up in their finery. Clif Simonson photo

"I think I left Tanzania and Kilimanjaro a changed person. It gave me a new perspective on life, a new idea of what I could achieve and insight into how it feels to conquer something I had only ever dreamed about. The time I spent on Kili is time that I will never forget. Ever.

"Thank you to Mountain Madness for making this trip happen.

"Twende!"

~ Olivia Simonson

The lion king. Clif Simonson photo

Clif Simonson photo

Clif Simonson photo