A lifetime dream about to become reality – Father and daughter take the kili challenge!!

Chris Pilley of Bush2Beach summit of Mera Peak 2006 – Nepal

A short introduction is all that’s needed I feel to capture the reader’s attention to this up and coming adventure tale. This bush update will be a little different to others as I will try to keep it as live as possible as we follow Wallace (Jerry) Martindale and his daughter Madeleine (Maddy). They commence their journey in a pole, pole (slow, slow) way to firstly touch base to their new surroundings then the adventures begins with a ‘Walk on the Wild side’ out in West Kili before hitting the Lemosho trail of Kilimanjaro.

Father and daughter

Jerry(81) and Maddy(50)

Apart from family and friends of Jerry and Maddy who are aware of what difficulties may lay ahead – I should bring it to other reader’s attention that

Jerry is attempting to climb Kili at the impressive age of 81 years young!

Both Madeline and Jerry have been kind enough to supply their own introductions which will paint a further picture as to their backgrounds and further touch on how I first met Madeleine on beautiful sunny day whilst descending under my own steam with a frost bitten left foot after I had successfully summated Mera peak (6476 meters).

I remember the day fairly well as I suppose I was carrying a fair bit of anxiety to the condition of my toes and knowing all about frost bite and the after effects!! Was certainly a tad concerned as to what was actually going to happen to me once getting down to Kathmandu. Maddy was sitting or standing next to a low stacked rock wall warming herself in the brilliant sun as I hobbled into her sight. For me it was a relief to see a white face and after I had established she was actually the doctor I felt in the best hands possible considering we were at 4535 metres and I had already been descending with Sherpa already for 6 days. So that was Maddy’s and my first meeting back in 2006.

We later kept in touch and a personal and professional friendship formed in that she advised me from afar how to treat my toes prolonging the evitable day when I had a little surgery to put things right!!– just put it this way I will never be a foot model again, but have no regrets as to what happened out there and although I’m a little heavier and slower these days (aren’t we all) given the chance to be out in the wilderness staring at an ocean of mountains is heaven on earth for me and for those who have done it know what I’m referring to.

Now to the Martindale’s intros! Firstly with Jerry who has lived and is still living an adventurous colourful life that I take my hat off to and on a personal note cannot wait to meet with him to chew the fat and swap a few tales – also Maddy who has had many other adventures since leaving Nepal to which we share an email randomly with what has been going on in our lives since 2006!

Jerry’s story

I’m a retired mathematics professor, and I still play tennis (“old man’s doubles”). My favourite activity is continuing a lifetime avocation of classical piano playing by taking lessons. At this writing (May 20) I am desperately shuttling back and forth between practicing a 7-page Mendelssohn fugue for a student recital (May 27) and repetitively climbing several sets of outdoor 100-step staircases in Philadelphia before leaving (May 31) for Kilimanjaro.

My father and grandfather instilled in me a love for mountains, with various trips to the Adirondacks (in New York) and the White Mountains (in New Hampshire). Let me say, however, that I am just a “woods walker”, with virtually no technical climbing experience or ability. Early on some of my favourite bedside reading was a book, “High Conquest”, by James Ramsey Ullman. His romantic (though probably not altogether accurate) description of the famous ascents in the history of mountaineering took an inexorable hold on my imagination. The account of Whymper’s tragic first ascent of the Matterhorn certainly motivated me (at age 42) to climb that mountain (safely roped between a Swiss guide and an experienced German climber).

On the frontispiece of “High Conquest” was a picture of the Mustagh Tower, which was sufficient motivation for me (at age 55) to join a month-long Mountain Travel trek up the Baltoro Glacier to the K-2 base camp (which included a close –up view along the way of the Mustagh Tower). More recently (at age 73) I leapt at the opportunity of joining my doctor daughter Madeleine on a private expedition on the standard Mt. Everest trek (Lukla to Kala Patar) which she arranged while being stationed in Kathmandu. I found it ironic that (except for high altitude breathing problems) the trail was far easier than, say, the trail up Mt. Katahdin (in Maine), where it took me several unsuccessful attempts before finally summiting. I do hope my body remembers having successfully ascended then over 18,000 ft. With Kilimanjaro now in mind, but who knows how this all-important problem of altitude will play out? Now (at age 81) I look forward to the challenge of Kilimanjaro with a combination of excitement and fear, with the confidence that Chris Pilley’s company, Bush2Beach safaris, will be helping me at each turn in my quest of reaching the top.


Maddy’s story

First off, I’m not a mountain climber. Kilimanjaro was never in my sites. This climb started out as a lifelong dream of my father’s. As a kid, my parents took us to the high peaks region of the Adirondacks each summer and I fell in love with being out in nature. College years were dotted with backpacking trips in the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest but never any major climbing. Sure, I took all the avalanche, wilderness medicine, ice climbing, glacier travel, and crevasse rescue courses… but I lived in Seattle and never climbed Mt Rainier, lived in Alaska and never climbed Denali.

An attempt at Mt Baker in the winter last year was foiled by bad weather and avalanches. Medical school brought me a job at CIWEC Clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal, and I fell in love with the Khumbu (the Everest region). They say it gets in your blood and you have to go back, and again, and I’ve found this to be true. I volunteered a couple of seasons for the Himalayan Rescue Association up at Pheriche (14,500ft). From there, living in Alaska, and then wintering over in Antarctica seems like a natural progression for someone sold on the wild remote. My father and I have been up a few mountains together.

When I was wandering around the globe for a couple of years, my parents met me in Indonesia and we decided to climb Mt Merapi. It was a bit taller back then, and actively erupting the night we climbed it. But for the veil of darkness, I’m sure we’d never have done it: there were bursts of flaming lava shooting out from the mountain throughout the night, beautiful as shooting stars but a little too close. My travels took me to Kenya where I casually decided to climb Mt Kenya with a friend. In the rainy season. Other than the waterfalls of trails coming down, Mt Kenya is a fascinating and mystical place in the rainy season. We were the only ones on the mountain; had no real hiking or climbing gear, and my little camera froze at the base of Point Lenana. My father and I met again for the Everest trek, when I was working at CIWEC in Kathmandu. At 73 years old, he traipsed on up the 18,000 foot Kala Pattar; I turned back with a terrible headache, climbing it another time without a problem.

Our next venture together was Mt Katahdin in Maine a couple of years ago, and my brother and sister joined us for that one: a mile high. To put this in perspective, the top of Mt Katahdin is the same elevation as the gate at the base of Kilimanjaro. And thus the idea of climbing Kilimanjaro, for real, was born. I’d met Chris Pilley when I was working at the high altitude clinic in the Everest region, so when my father told me he wanted to climb Kilimanjaro and we wondered what company to hire, Bush2Beach was an obvious choice.

Chris knows more than a thing or two about being in the wild remote, about injuries and what to do, about getting up and more importantly about getting back home. I had read about the various climbs of Kilimanjaro that Bush2Beach had orchestrated with people who have disabilities

Now that I’m 50 and my father is 81, someone who has taken a disabled person up a 19,000ft peak is the person we want overseeing our climb. We’ve been planning for nearly a year – now there’s just 2 weeks to go, before we finally set foot on the mountain and the real work begins.

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