Couple climb Mt Kilimanjaro for Adaptive Sports at Sun Peaks

By Adam Donnelly
October 25, 2016 - 3:08pm Updated: October 26, 2016 - 2:59pm

SUN PEAKS, BC — At 5895 m above sea level, Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest point on the continent of Africa. It’s a popular tourist destination, with thousands of adventure seekers hiking the mountain every year. Earlier this month, a couple from Whitecroft hiked up the mountain, as part of a trip of a lifetime and in doing so, raised funds for Adaptive Sports at Sun Peaks.

WATCH: Full report by Adam Donnelly

It’s been quite a month for Helen and Mark Jones. The British expats, who’ve lived in Canada since 2007, recently returned from an African Adventure, that saw them summit the highest peak on that content.

The pair had their dream vacation planned for months, but before heading to Tanzania to tackle Mt Kilimanjaro, they decided to use the trip as a vehicle to fundraise for a good cause.

“We decided we could do something constructive with [the trip],” Mark Jones told CFJC Today. “It’s just amazing to me, that they can get people up on the slopes, and doing those types of things.”

The Jones’ took the Machame route, considered the most scenic, but also the steepest way to the top of the mountain. After five tough days of climbing, Mark and Helen began their ascent to the summit on the night of October 3rd.

“[It was an] overnight hike, four and half kilometres to the summit. That took 7 hours, 40 minutes,” Mark explained.

“And lots of crying at the top,” Helen added.

“Lots of crying at the top,” Mark continued, adding “Once you realize you’ve made it. I’ve never been so happy to see the sun come up.”

“The summit night was really tough,” Helen said. “I had my iPod in, and I couldn;t have done it without, just taking that distraction… On the way up, you’re like ‘We’re gonna do it’ and that’s what keeps you going.”

The fundraising goal for their campaign for Adaptive sports was two thousand dollars. With all their online and offline donations combined, Mark and Helen Jones have met, and exceeded their goal - money the organization will put to good use.

“Every year, there’s an annual CADS Festival, and CADS stands for Canadian Associations of Disabled Skiers,” explained Sharon Trembley, Vice President of Adaptive Sports at Sun Peaks, which is the hosting the 2017 CADS Festival at the resort. Trembley added “We thought that [using the money raised by the Jones’] would be a really good way to get some of our local students… to participate.”

The Jones’ are still recovering from their trek up Mt Kilimanjaro - and enjoying the memories while they’re fresh. Mark is already plotting for the pair’s next adventure

“The day we got back to camp, we were like ‘We’re never doing anything like that again,’” Helen recounted.

“My next ambition would be to do the Everest Base Camp,” Mark said. “That’s a 14-day trek.”

The real work will be getting Helen on board with his plan.

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