Kilimanjaro quest ends

Delmar couple take on Kilimanjaro with international expedition

A Delmar couple has just returned from a journey across the ocean that reached high into the thin air of Africa.

Dave and Linda Burtis spend several days on the side of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania earlier this month. Though they did not make the final summit, they did raise thousands for Laureus Sport for Good Foundation of America, an organization that offers sporting opportunities to underprivileged youth.

Dec. 11 was the date the international expedition was to push to the summit, over 19,300 feet above sea level, but a number either forewent the summit attempt or turned back partway in.

The Burtises elected to stay at the final summit camp rather than set out with the other climbers. Summit attempts start at midnight, and climbers hike all night so they can summit during daylight. After days of hiking in the rain and snow, they decided to rest instead.

It's a decision Dave Burtis does not regret after hearing about the final ascent from returning climbers.

They came back in the camp the next morning just exhausted, and for many of the them it was beyond exhaustion, he said "We're kind of slow, so it would have been really tough for us."

The expedition was beset by rain and, at higher altitudes, snow.

"It started raining the first day as we were partway into the hike, and it was raining when we got to the tent," Dave Burtis said. "That just went on for three or four days, there was literally no sun."

The entire party had to take precautions to stave off altitude sickness, including drinking much more water than normal. Most of their equipment was carried by local porters, who also took care of much of the duties around camp and the cooking.

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