At 19,340 feet, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest freestanding mountain and the largest volcano to ever breach the Earth’s crust. The most dangerous factor of the climb begins at 10,000 feet where the risk of high altitude sickness increases and fatigue sets in as the climber’s bodies struggle to adjust to a nearly 50% reduction in oxygen levels. This prevents 50% of all climbers from reach Uhuru peak, the highest point on the mountain.
As a dedication to Derek Ruth, Joel Makovicka and former Husker cheerleader Shari Kopf took their first steps on Mt. Kilimanjaro on September 6th, 2010. This marked the two-year anniversary of Derek’s injury to the day. On September 11th, Joel and Shari successfully reached Uhuru peak at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. At the peak they proudly flew the Nebraska flag for all those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury.