CLIMBER BLOG: Melissa Arnot
Why I joined SOTSK
About a year ago, First Ascent signed up to be the official expedition outfitter for SOTSK. They offered to send a mountaineering expert who could also serve as a medical guide, which is what got me involved as one of First Ascent’s athletes.
I’ve been guiding since 2004 and have been up Mt. Everest twice including once for National Geographic so I’m very familiar with mountain productions and telling the story of a climb. I’ve always wanted to come to Kilimanjaro but this was the first time the timing worked out. I’d also worked on the philanthropic project for Product Red Everest in 2008 so was really intrigued by the purpose of SOTSK.
My biggest takeaway occurred to me on the summit. As a guide I’m constantly evaluating peoples abilities to challenge themselves in the face of pain, discomfort, adversity and weather conditions. I wondered if individually each of the climbers would have been capable of reaching the summit. Kenna didn’t make it as an individual but he did together with everyone else, which speaks to the whole purpose of the climb.
Our group succeeded because we created a community without pressure united for a cause with an incredible support system.