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Sat, 02/07/2015 to Thu, 02/19/2015

Climbing Kilimanjaro and surviving cancer (or any disease) are linked by a powerful mental attitude to make it happen.  The successful participants must look ahead and visualize themselves reaching the other side of the challenge.  There must be no doubts.  The hiker must possess the positive outlook to reach the top, to not do too much thinking about it or worrying about it.  Success begins with mental strength and endurance.  Fighting also requires never giving up, never giving in, regardless of the odds.

Since 2008 JOI has had well over a hundred climbers embark on the journey of climbing the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, Kilimanjaro. Over 90% of those climbers have successfully reached the top to see the sunrise over the curvature of the earth. For the LAST time, in 2015, a new group of hikers will travel to Tanzania, Africa to climb. They will experience ups and downs. They will build friendships that will last forever and they will certainly have an experience they will never forget.

Journey Information

Ben Thompson
Ben Thompson

Kristine Thompson

Learn more about our project at

  • $500.00   Initial deposit/commitment fee - This reserves your "spot" on the climb. The spaces tend to fill quickly! Call Pack Paddle Ski to join the climb; We will take your deposit right over the phone via MC or Visa. Your deposit will be applied to your trip cost, and is NOT refunded if you cancel. As soon as you send us your deposit, we start planning for you and make reservations in Africa.

  • Climbing Kilimanjaro – $3,200.00  ($2,700 after initial deposit is made)
  • Airfare tends to run around $2,000.00
  • Optional Three Day Safari - $1,275.00
  • Optional Five Day Safari -   $1,825.00
  • Donation to charity of your choice  – At least $2,500.00

* When you sign up to embark on this journey, you become a customer of Pack Paddle Ski and a volunteer for the foundation you choose to fund raise for. The cost for the climb, and safari can be paid gradually to Pack Paddle Ski via check, cash or credit card. The airfare will be paid to the airline when a Travel Agent assists you with booking your flight. Trip balance must be paid 2 months prior to departure. The $2500 donation can be paid gradually through cash, checks and/or an online tool and tends to be very easy. We will provide you with tools such as a banner, business cards, web page, brochures, etc. to assist you in your fund raising efforts. Many also choose to fund raise towards the cost of their trip as well. If you need help developing a fund raising plan please contact us!*


Here is an example of what happened when one climber committed this process and started to search for a solution:

 “I just took the  opportunity to talk to one of the owners of the company that I work for.  I  briefly told him what my wife and I are trying to do.  His words were "Its  not everyday that you have an employee that wants to undertake an endeavor like  this.  Great Lakes Controls will be happy to support you in this  effort."   He told me that he will work with one of the vendors that we  have a good relationship with to get a special project price for an upcoming  order in the amount that we need to cover costs for the trip.  In addition,  he would like to have some pictures and information that he can put into a  letter from him to send to our other vendors to get going on the ACS portion of  the donations.  He said to me that he would like to set a goal of  $10,0000.00 in donations to the ACS for this project.  Please let me know  how to get the information from you."

 Thank you,

 Tom  Mattice
Account Manager

Leomosho Route

Duration: 8 days hiking

The Leomosho route is an eight day route that ascends up to the Shira Camps on the Western slopes where it meets up with the Machame Route. The hiker can experience the thrills of seeing the Lava Tower or "Shark's tooth" and passing beneath the lofty Barranco Wall. These features seal one's breath away. On the upper reaches of the mountain, the hiker completes the "South Circuit" Which offers many different angles of viewing Kibo, the summit. The climber feels a strong sense of witnessing Kili's many faces while closing in on the top. A unique feeling of seeing your goal and progressing toward it enraptures the hiker. Much like cancer, it is finally clear and rewarding when one sees the cure and moves toward it relentlessly.

I am truly inspired by the amazing people and energy behind the “JOURNEYS OF INSPIRATION CLIMBS.”

I am an Exercise Psychologist and Physiologist in the Behavioral Medicine Unit of the University of Rochester James P. Wilmot Cancer Center.  My expertise and research is focused on investigating the influence of physical exercise and other integrative therapies on cancer-related fatigue and other side effects resulting from cancer and its treatments. Additional focus is on discerning the etiology and interrelationships among physical exercise, functional capacity, immune function, nuclear and mitochondrial gene expression, and quality of life among cancer patients.

I have seen first hand, in many of my family members and patients in the cancer center, the challenges that are faced by cancer survivors.  This is why I am eager to celebrate life with this amazing group of “normal people wanting to live abnormal lives” by CLIMBING KILIMANJARO AND/OR EVEREST!

I hope this helps you get started!                                                                                                             

Karen M. Mustian, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology
Behavioral Medicine Unit
James P. Wilmot Cancer Center
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

So here are some tips to help get you started in preparation for the climb no matter where you are in the process of receiving treatment for your cancer or when the last time was you did any exercise:

  1. Check in with your doctors (both your primary care physician and your oncologists) and let them know you are about to change your exercise habits and with their help make sure you DO NOT have any health risks that would make participation in exercise testing or exercise unsafe for you.  Purchase a good pair of athletic shoes and plenty of good socks appropriate for this type of training.  Using your 6-12 month old pair of shoes from the back of the closet is a good way to injure your self early on in the process, because frequently the cushioning and support that are so important in your training shoes is long gone and early over use symptoms-like painful shins and heels-surface very quickly and get in the way of training.  If you have access to a facility were you can have your physical fitness evaluated, take advantage of this and go have a fitness evaluation done. This is important in order to get an accurate picture of your appropriate starting level for exercise training, to monitor you progress and eventually to give you an idea if you are adequately prepared for the climb. Training for the climb doesn’t mean you will have to become an Olympic caliber athlete, but you will want to be in excellent physical shape to give you the best chance of summiting the mountain.
  3. START TRAINING NOW, Even if the climb isn’t scheduled right away, a steady consistent training program with relatively small increases over time are going to produce much more effective results with fewer injuries. The last thing you want to do is try to pack too much training in too fast at the last minute and injure yourself—you will hear stories about everyone else’s great adventure.
  5. Many forms of exercise are good, but walking is an essentially important part of your training.  To increase your chance of success you should be able to walk for 5-8 hours covering 8-10 miles of hilly terrain on consecutive days without problems.  Since busy work schedules and lives do not always permit large blocks of time for training, investing in an inexpensive pedometer to aid you in monitoring the total distance you walk each day is useful.  Use the pedometer to monitor the total distance you walk each day and help you track your progress.
  7. Aerobic activities such as spinning, cycling, aerobics, zumba or running, as well as resistance and core body strengthening, such as weightlifting, yoga, and pilates will help you achieve the cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness you will need.  These types of activities should eventually be included in your training program 3-5 times a week in addition to your daily walking.