Editor’s Note—Highland Park resident Andrew Krupp wanted to do something for his niece, Katy McGregor, also of Highland Park who suffers from diabetes, and the organization dedicated to fighting it, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
In May, he decided to climb one of the world’s tallest peaks, Mt. Kilimanjaro, to raise awareness about the disease. Last month, he successfully completed the journey. His account of the effort is printed below.
By Andrew Krupp
Jambo (hello in Swahili) from Tanzania. Somehow I made
it. For many hours it seemed doubtful. Together with my guide we started our
assent at midnight in a driving snowstorm. All I could see with my
headlamp was a few feet in front of me. Slowly we climbed to the words poli,
poli, meaning slow slow. There were about 100 climbers and porters from
different groups and nationalities. Some came in large groups, but I was alone,
I only had my guide to push me along. We saw many people along the path
suffering from the altitude. Some were throwing up others just turned around
and gave up.
As the snow started to worsen, I started to really worry about the danger of slipping off the mountain, then I had the chilling realization that I would have to descend later in the slippery mess. At some point, my camelback froze solid, so I had no water for many hours, becoming at risk of dehydration. Out of desperation I ate some snow to get at least a little fluids in my body. My pack and clothing became coated with snow and were starting to get really heavy.
At that moment, I was starting to consider giving up. I was freezing, tired and with no water, but my guide encouraged me to press on. I thought about the commitment I made to Katy and JDRF. Then I worried that if I didn't make it to the top, I would have to refund donations. With fear and determination we pushed ahead to the summit.
When we finally arrived, I managed to call my wife to let her know I am alive and take a couple of pictures before my phone froze dead. After 11 hours of hiking I was back in the base camp for a one hour rest before another five hour trek to our final camp on the mountain
Thanks to all for your encouragement and support