Outside Online: Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
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The Participants

After each arduous ascent, Catherine Allen vows that she will never climb another mountain. Her first summit was Mount Rainier in Washington in September 1995. The following August she and two friends climbed Long's Peak in Colorado. This year she set her sights on Mount Kilimanjaro. The 38-year-old works for Westin Hotels and Resorts in Florida as a director of sales and marketing.

Peter Blomquist summited Mount Kilimanjaro last year as a celebration of CARE's 50th anniversary, an idea he came up with. The 13-year employee of the nonprofit group also has scaled the peaks of Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Mount Adams, and Mount St. Helens in the Washington Cascades.

Terry Diamond is chairman of Talon Asset Management, a Chicago-based investment advisor, and a managing partner of the Talon Opportunity Fund. Marilyn Diamond has worked as a teacher most of her life and now works as a freelance writer. The couple have three children, ages 28 to 32.

Until this climb, Mel Gee, 43, had never camped more than three days straight. Nor has she climbed a mountain. But her six children have been helping her train and pick the right gear. Born in the Philippines, she commutes weekly from her home by the Wasatch Mountains in Utah to Los Angeles. "I love the way CARE supports women, helping them to become more financially stable ... I think when we empower women, we empower families."

Kevin Grant hasn't been to Africa before, but he's done plenty of climbing elsewhere. He's climbed Denali twice, Aconcagua in Argentina, Condoriri and Huayna Potosi' in Bolivia, Mont Blanc and the Grand Jorasses in Europe, and other mountains. To support his passion, he works as a portfolio manager for Fidelity Management and Research in Boston.

Laurel Johnston joined CARE in 1993 after working for the American Red Cross. Some highlights of past trips include snorkeling with dolphins in Honduras, scuba diving with turtles in Kauai, and visiting Mayan ruins in southern Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Richard Levitan works as an emergency physician at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1994 he worked as high-camp physician on Denali for the National Park Service. He's also spent plenty of time backpacking and climbing, including peak ascents in the San Juan Mountains, the North Cascades, the Wind River Range, and the Tetons. He's shared many ascents with his twin brother, Robert Levitan, who is a founding partner of iVillage. The New York company develops online sites built around shared interests. A third brother also is heading up Mount Kilimanjaro, Dan Levitan, who works for Schroder Wertheim in New York.

Between a hectic job for one, and school for the other, Jim Losi and
Jim Losi Jr. don't get a chance to spend much time together. But a mountain climb is just the opportunity for both to put aside other obligations and share a rare experience. Jim Sr. works as a chief administrative officer for Charles Schwab in San Francisco. Last year, he was elected to CARE's National Executive Board. He hopes to raise $100,000 for CARE on this climb. His son, 19, attends Santa Barbara City College, and shares his father's hobby of restoring old vehicles.

Christi Masengill earns a living doing what most people do every morning--tasting coffee. A coffee specialist for Starbucks, she samples coffee with coffee buyers each morning, passing along her knowledge to the rest of the company. Starbucks has supported CARE for three years, donating more to the organization than any other group. Christi, 36, is a climb leader and climbing instructor for the Everett Mountaineers, and a certified aerobics instructor.

After 41 years of marriage, John Morgridge and Tashia Morgridge haven't slowed down much. In 1995 they rode their bikes 4,400 miles across the United States. John is chairman of Cisco Systems, which supplies high-end internetworking products. Tashia is a retired special education teacher. Both are active volunteers. They live in San Jose, California, and have three children and six grandchildren.

Bill Pope works in his hometown of Seattle as general counsel for Vulcan Northwest. He also represents other companies owned by Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates. He is active in politics and with nonprofit groups in the area. He's also reached the summit of Mount Rainier each year for the past four years.

Charysse Wiley has done triathlons and works as national sales manager for Westin St. Francis in San Francisco.

Karen Fries and Richard Tait work for Microsoft in Seattle.

Tom Nickels, with Mountain Madness in Seattle, is leading the climb.

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.

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