On June 14, 2014, 8 Tusker climbers were making their way “pole, pole” to the summit of Kilimanjaro. 1 hour shy of Stella Point, at around 17,500 ft., a climber from another climbing company’s group collapsed 50 feet away from the Tusker group. Here’s Dan and Pat’s recollection of how Tusker came to the rescue.
Dan: “Two of our three Kilimanjaro guides, Urio and Gaudence, sprinted up the slope when they saw the collapsed climber. Our lead guide Elias continued to guide us nearby, gave direction, and monitored the situation. One of the porters, Justin, who carried my camera gear, also ran up to help the rescue guides.”
Pat: “It was a young guy about 21 yrs old that had passed us 3 hrs earlier moving pretty fast. ”
Dan: “Our Tusker guides surrounded him. I saw them quickly removing medical gear from their packs, including oxygen, and administer it to the stricken climber. Urio and Gaudence calmed the climber, and spent enough time to assess his condition, stabilize him, and make sure he was capable of continuing his descent. Meanwhile his guide sat idly by.”
Pat: “Since the climber only had one guide and no other support staff, Urio and Gaudence helped him get started on the descent.”
Dan: “We learned later that day that the climber was in camp and doing well.”
Pat: “When we departed from Kilimanjaro International Airport 3 days later, he was on the airplane and flirting with several college age girls sitting in front of us. He must have recovered fairly well…..thanks to Tusker.”
Dan: “From the first time we met our guides at our hotel, we got a strong sense of their competence and confidence, their experience and knowledge of guiding climbers up Kilimanjaro. We trusted their advice and guidance, and felt that their first priority was our well-being, and secondly, as long as it was safe, they would help us reach the summit.
So it came as no surprise when we encountered the climber in distress, even though he was not their client, they rushed to his aid without hesitation, like the true professionals they are.”
Special thanks to Dan Ernst for these photos and sharing his experience. And thanks to Pat Finley and his father Tom for sharing their story.
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