Most in Bayfield woman’s 'Leap of Faith' expedition reach Mount Kilimanjaro summitA six-day hike up Africa’s highest mountain ended in success Monday for a northern Wisconsin woman and her expedition. Twenty-two of the 29 people made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Of the climbers who summited, seven have multiple sclerosis and four have Parkinson’s.
By: Mike Simonson , Wisconsin Public Radio
A six-day hike up Africa’s highest mountain ended in success Monday for a northern Wisconsin woman and her expedition. Twenty-two of the 29 people made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Of the climbers who summited, seven have multiple sclerosis and four have Parkinson’s.
Lori Schneider of Bayfield and her expedition made it back to camp about noon western African time Monday, sounding a bit tired.
“I do sound a little fatigued. Walking for 15 hours on the mountain probably warrants a little fatigue in my voice,” she said. “And then we had to hike about three more hours to the place we’re camping tonight, so we just got in.”
The so-called “Leap of Faith” expedition had 14 people with neurological diseases and 14 healthy partners. Schneider, 53, was diagnosed with MS in 1999. Although she reached the summit, not all in her climbing party made it to the top, including Schneider’s partner, her 79-year-old dad, Neal. But Schneider said she’s proud of all of them.
“It’s really such a long climb, and I was concerned with everybody on the climb that they save enough strength to get back down,” she said. “So we thought it would be a good idea to make sure he would make it back as well. But he did extremely well.”
After reaching Kilimanjaro’s 19,300-foot summit, Schneider said they’ll spend the next several days on a safari of the Serengeti Plains of Africa.
“I’ll tell you, it will feel good to sit down for a few days,” she said.
Schneider has climbed all seven of the world’s continental summits, but this is the first time she has taken an expedition with other people suffering from neurological diseases like she does.
She described the climbers as “giving their heart and soul for this project, working to overcome the labels in their own lives.” The companion climbers are “just here out of the kindness of their hearts to help somebody and be a partner every step of the way.”