Posted by: Laura Hartstone | 14 January, 2011

Day 5 – The Climb

2011 team on summit - Mount Kenya

It’s an absolutely freezing clear morning. The sky is full of so many stars that I can barely keep my eyes on the ground. However, looking up isn’t really an option. We move as a unit; a line of lights creeping through the dark the way a snake winds through the desert. It’s 3:30 am and we have just begun our bid for the top of Mt. Kenya.

The hike up to Point Lenana

“Slowly, slowly” (or “Pole, pole” as our guides say in Swahili), we climb higher and higher. One breathless step at a time, we seek to reach the rocky summit by sunrise. Our fingers are frozen, we can’t see, some members of the team haven’t slept in days and others are suffering from altitude sickness…Yet, we climb on – for the environment, for our families and friends, for each other and for ourselves.

A view from the top

It’s tough going, but spirits rise with the sun. When we are just a few minutes shy of Point Lenana, a glowing red orb inches it’s way above the eastern horizon. We push on, scurrying over the last few bits of trail and up helping each other up a short, steep rock wall. Tears, laughter, hoots and hollers abound. In front of my eyes, I see self-doubt and uncertainty transform into confidence and clarity. I am overwhelmed by the determination, perseverance, heart and support present in each of these women. Looking forward to seeing more of this the next couple weeks.

Go ladies!!!

We are now at the base of the mountain, ready to take on the next two peaks.

Many thanks to Dare2Be for the amazing gear! It no doubt helped get us to the top!

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Posted by Chris Kassar



  1. Charlotte! Hongera dada!! We are so proud of you!!!

    On a side note–how is it that one person is in SHORTS?!

  2. GREAT JOB LADIES!!! Sarah- I am so excited for you and for the group- you must be feeling overwhelmed with excitement! How does a $600 donation sound? On behalf of the Whitesboro International Club-


  3. What a beautiful blog. Everything about it is truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing. It would be interesting to know how many people world wide have you in their thoughts and in their hearts at this time. Love to the entire team. A big bear hug to our wonderful Kaitlyn. XXOOMOM

  4. of course this post is beautiful….it is written by my beautiful sister chris! can picture what you were looking at …by your amazing description…love and light being sent to you from across the ponds….great to hear your voice today kid….love to you and all of the girls….and to simba for making sure you are eating well…helen

  5. ps…think the nutty one in shorts is also my sister chris…..ugghhhh…

  6. Dear Team 2011:

    “When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.” – Lao Tzu

    This quote goes out to the 11 women who just summited Mt. Kenya at the on “3 Peaks 3 Weeks 2011”. Be yourselves, enjoy the journey and take in the moment. You have put in all the hard work, training, fundraising and educating. Now is the time to enjoy the adventure, you yourself and help others who are struggling. Last year, someone told us some very sage advice that “everyone arrives to the party at different times”, so if it’s a day you feel great, help someone who feels the affects of the altitude. You will be grateful when you are feeling not so great one day, when someone shows you some compassion and help! Best wishes Team 2011!

    Kind Regards,
    Sarah Winters Papsun

  7. To Kelly & Team,
    Greetings from Minnesota!! We are enjoying your blogs and beautiful photos! You are all a part of something bigger than yourselves and enlightening people around the world!! Way to go!!

  8. Such great news, and we’re all really proud of the 2011 3P3W team! Enjoy the barbecue tonight and get a good rest. Fantastic effort team, thank you from all the rhinos

  9. You women are AWESOME! I just “discovered” your blog and love it. I will be faithful for the rest of your journey. The heat, cold, and all the stuff in between. Have a fabulous time. In the words of the immortal Red Green – We’re pullin’ for you!

  10. For you Sister…

    Oh, yesterdays over my shoulder
    So I can’t look back for too long
    There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me
    And I know that I just can’t go wrong

    With these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
    Nothing remains quite the same
    With all of our running and all of our cunning
    If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane….

    Just sending you some warm thoughts and a Frozen Margarita!


  11. Sarah and Team 2011. Its no small feat that you’ve all accomplished and you set out to do during week one and you did it with style and grace and probably a few other things as well. Week one has been exciting to follow and it makes us all look forward to the upcomming climbs. But during the intermission take some time to reflect on what each of you has accomplish as an individual and as a team. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and try not to miss enjoying every little part of the journey. Bet it feels nice to be warm once again. It’s 7degreesF outside my window. Could you send some heat PLEASE!!! Love, Dad

  12. WOW, congratulations to all! Cool to tak to you today Chris, you are amazing! I recognize your skinny legs in the shorts tho you are nuts! Love,hugs and kisses from New Jersey

  13. so happy you are all down safely. Great accomplishment! get rested now! More fun to come! We are thinking of you every minute of every day!

  14. Congratulations ladies!! stay tough and remember why you’re there during the tough times!

    Thinking of you and envious of your guts,
    Kelly’s friend Cyd

  15. overwhelmed by your moving blog..then i heard your voice ,,thanks for calling..we have always felt blessed to have you in our lives now we have 11 others to be grateful to and for. ..lots of love and prayers coming to all of you ..take good care of each other

  16. Solo proud of all of you! Especially Kaitlyn, we knew you can do this! So jealous, have a blast, this is what LIFE is all about!

  17. Congratulaions Tara and all the ladies in the team. You all must be so proud of yourself, what an experience to climb 3 peaks in 3 weeks. You will probably need more than 3 weeks to recover. Hope all goes well with the next two climbs. Thinking of you and will continue to follow your progress. Take care, stay safe and I hope you enjoy the journey all the way, well most of the way.

    Love the Sullivan Family. xxoo

  18. Lynne and Ladies,
    Woot! Woot! We’re thinking of you, amazed and inspired by your determination and courage. Ah, to be in Africa!

    Love, Abbey, Karl, and Ole

  19. Congratulations Charlotte – all that training, and years of persistence in getting onto a 3p3w team have paid off. I am incredibly inspired and proud. Lots of love, and see you soon.

  20. Darling Lynnie: its Saturday and we are jonesing for our weekly call. Could not be more proud or excited for you…but MISS you terribly. Watching the site everyday: saying prayers everyday. Love you love you love you!

  21. You mad, brave, wonderful women – and thank goodness you are! All at St Jude’s are in awe of your passion, power and determination – especially you, Charley, who fought on to the top despite being in hospital days before ascending. Incredible fortitude! And no doubt the team spirit had a lot to do with it. We all eagerly await your visit to St Jude’s and appreciate every blister, ache and tear. Congratulations and thank you for your extraordinary efforts, Kim

  22. Cheers ladies! We’re getting tons of lake affect right now girl, we will be skiing when you get home! Love you xoxo

  23. Great job girls!! Kaitlyn, very proud of you…, so fun to read the team’s daily accomplishments. We miss you!! Love, Darlene

  24. Awaiting new blog. None for 1/15 . Hope all is well. XXOOMOM

  25. Just got to see the video!!!! It was AWESOME to get to see and hear you!!!!! You are all amazing….go girls! Miss you, miss you, love you, love you!

  26. Haha Sista’!! You made it!! I am so proud, we are so proud!!! Continue comme ça, pense aux bénéfices pour les associations, que le défi physique que tu t’imposes c’est pour de bonnes causes (ça rime en plus, je suis trop forte, awesomeness quand tu nous tiens 😉 ) et tout va rouler comme sur des roulettes!
    Gros gros bisous and raise your glass!!

  27. Charlotte, je sais combien St-Jude te tiens à coeur et je suis très très fière de voir la façon dont tu es capable de te surpasser pour cette école.
    Tout plein de bises et bonne continuation à toi et à tes coéquipières, sans oublier porteurs et guides

  28. Go ladies, we will pull for you! Please take care of yourselves and each other too. Love and prayers come your way everyday. I love you, Lynne, my dear sister. ❤

  29. just saw the video on facebook! That was so cool…you all are amazing women! Keep up the energy!!

  30. Talked with your mother this am,said you were at the school.Conversing with the
    children must be a challenge.Many@BP have asked about your adventure.A trip of a lifetime.Your persistence is paying oftAnxious to hear about the next chapter.Keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.Love ya,Nana

  31. Holly, I am so proud of you! These pictures are so inspiring. Keep on truckn’!

  32. I )*( Believe
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