A climb to remember: Faculty member summits a peak in support of those with Alzheimer’s

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Joe Manning and Alan Arnette on Mt. Kilimanjaro

In an earlier story in YaleNews, we reported on faculty member Joe Manning’s climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro in support of a campaign to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. Manning, the Simpson Professor of Classics and History, recently returned home after successfully ascending Africa’s highest peak with a team that included mountaineer Alan Arnette, who launched the year-long “The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s” campaign.

Manning trained for the 19,336-foot ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro by climbing smaller peaks in California and Colorado, as well as bicycling. He is on leave of absence this semester, and described his recent experience in Tanzania in his blog, “The Ancient Historian.” Recalling the events of summit day, he writes:

“I was really excited to be on the final push. This felt like mountaineering to me. Needless to say there was not a lot of sleeping that happened. I had some good music on the iPod and I relaxed in the tent. At 10:30 [p.m.], I got up and got dressed. It was chilly outside, but a still and beautiful evening. We were divided into two climbing groups. One group was to leave at 11, and the second at around midnight. By 11 or so, you could see a string of headlamps heading out of camp. An amazing sight. I was part of the second group, and we left about 12:15. I felt good, and excited. I was not hungry at breakfast but I forced down toast and jam, and porridge. The climb began almost right away. You have to scramble over big rocks leaving Barafu and that took about an hour. We were gaining altitude quickly; the lights of Moshi were in clear view, as they would be all evening. We reached the main trail up, and from there it was a straight shot, well … lots of switch backs, and steep scree. The group was moving slowly, and it was hard to stop since we were standing on steep ground. If you looked up you could see now a huge trail of headlamps, like an unfurled pearl necklace illuminating the dark all the way along the ridge. It was a reminder that we had to climb over 4,000 feet up from high camp. Always in the back of my mind was the fact that today, summit day on Kili, is one of the longest days in mountaineering. We planned on an 18-hour day! We had to go from high camp to the summit, and back down to Mweka camp at 10,000 feet. That is more than 13,000 feet up and down. One step at a time.”

To read more about Manning’s climb, visit his blog. To read more about Arnette’s “7 Summits” campaign, visit his website.

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Susan Gonzalez: susan.gonzalez@yale.edu,