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Strike Syria's Chemical Weapons Program. Launch Strikes On Syria. Report on McCabe Firing Out. Businessmen Slapped With U. Will He Stay or Go? Goods; Buses Carrying U. A guy with no legs should not be able to climb a mountain. It should be impossible. But here before me, the impossible is happening, one painful step at a time. By nightfall, the trail jags steeply downward, and Julian, already fried from the Barranco Wall, falls again and again, crashing onto sharp rocks and jagged roots before hauling himself back to his feet.

He reminds me of a boxer being pummeled by someone stronger and refusing to cave. Part of me wants to protect him, to force him to quit, but another part of me is dazzled by the spectacle of what he's enduring. We cross a stream at the bottom of a valley and face the day's last, long ascent. That's when lightning flashes overhead, a wallop of thunder explodes in the sky, and heavy sheets of rain come whipping down. A gushing current pours off the hillside, and it feels like we're climbing up a waterfall.

By the time we reach camp, we've been on the trail for 14 hours. Julian sits between the flaps of his open tent, pulling his legs off his body. Tim—who has been everywhere and seen everything—seems mystified by the depth of Julian's resilience. Flooded with emotion, Julian grows teary. I talked to them the whole way. Tim has noticed this kind of thing on other climbs, veterans confronting something bigger than the mountain. These were all men built for a fight, each of them whisked from the front lines suddenly, without warning, without a plan.

And while doctors can go to work on the physical trauma, the psychic impact is often left to linger. Their mission remains incomplete. That is, until they meet Tim. By summit day—our ninth on the mountain—we've notched 34 trail miles and our first days of the journey feel like memories from months before.

The end is now literally in sight, the glacial mountaintop glistening in the morning sun as we gird ourselves for the final, most brutal ascent. A few inches of snow has fallen overnight, and for all of Julian's training, he's never hiked in the snow. His concern is undisguised. Even beyond the weather, Summit Day is easily the toughest on Kilimanjaro. The elevation gain is nearly double that of any previous day, and the extreme altitude can be dangerous. It's time to push toward the peak.

Julian dons wraparound shades to fight the glare from the snow. Here are some of the things he thinks about over the next several hours, as he puts one prosthetic foot ahead of the other: The glow on Ashley's face at senior prom. The conversation he'd had with his dad and granddad when he'd told them he was joining the Marines—his granddad had enlisted 50 years earlier, and was thrilled; his dad, worried for his safety, was disheartened. The feel of Cody Childers's hand, squeezing his, as the rescue chopper carried them away from battle.

The sensation of hot water running over his feet, back when he had them. Tim is trying to get his attention now. Julian plucks his earbuds out. Still a little ways to go. Tim is a trickster. This is clearly the summit. But as he tops the ridge, he sees that Tim was right. Though his tank has gone empty, Julian plows forward. Fifty minutes later, steps away from the summit, Julian zeroes in on the Kilimanjaro sign, the same one he's seen in pictures. He casts his side sticks away again: He's promised himself he'd walk those final steps on his own.

Tears stream down his face as he slaps both hands on the sign, letting out wild whoops of joy, triumph, and relief. He spins around, full of joy, soaking up the blue sky and the prairie grasslands, stretching out to the horizon, terrain that reminds him of Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

Tim hands Julian his phone. He's already dialed Ashley. For all that Julian has just achieved, his thoughts are of his wife's well-being. Thank you for supporting this thing… This thing I had to do. Thank you for believing in me. Yeah, it's awesome up here. Tim reaches for the phone. CNN will be trying to link up. Quickly, Julian drops to the ground, claws up a clump of snow, grit, and gravel, and plants the four knights in the ground, saying good-bye to his friends one at a time, feeling each loss freshly, it seems.

Tim watches in silence, digging out his laptop, then beckons Julian over. Before long, the team will be headed back down, the sun will vanish, and in the darkness, a whirling blizzard will sweep the mountain. All of the pain that Julian's excitement has postponed will return with furious vigor—his right tibia, pounding into the prosthetic, will nearly puncture the skin of his nub.

It'll be midnight before camp is reached, and another day before we're off the mountain. In just a couple of weeks, Tim will be preparing with his next veteran, Staff Sergeant Charlie Linville from Boise, for a summit attempt on Everest in May. And over the coming months, Julian, safe at home with his family, will discover a new peace.

He'll start viewing himself in a different light—not as the guy who always aspired to be a soldier and then barely had a chance to fight, but as a man who achieved the improbable. He'll begin crafting fresh goals and bold dreams: Maybe he'll become a stand-up comedian, maybe a motivational speaker.

But here on the summit, daylight is quickly fading. From the Skype window on Tim's laptop, a producer's voice calls out. I'm here with Brooke Baldwin. Julian takes a very deep breath, steadies himself before the black eye of the webcam, ready to show the world what he has done.

He is now only six peaks away from climbing all Seven Summits. Asha Leo is a British fashion model and television presenter.

She began her career at age 13 by winning the Face of Sugar Magazine model competition. She subsequently signed with Select Model Management in London. Due to her Indian heritage, in , Asha was chosen to be in the Kingfisher Calendar. Both are her platforms for different reasons. In fact, one led to the other.

Born in Hawaii to an Austrian father and a Japanese mother, Luko-Sandstrom has been around the world as a fashion model. Since age 15, she has inhabited the glamor world, basking in the spotlight and enduring personal hardship off it. Luko-Sandstrom remembers when she had to stop working after she broke out with pimples.

Europe was a bad memory, especially Milan. Work was exhausting but it was its dark side that unnerved her when she had to fight off clients and agents who demanded sex from her. I was only Still, it was a bit of a shock to her. It was a far cry from the world of glamor. She wore no makeup to begin with. We did brush our teeth. There was no medical staffer, so she soldiered on with the help of energy pills. When they reached the snow-white mountaintop early one morning, everybody cried.

We cried and hugged one another. The return journey took eight hours, with the average temperature at minus 16 degrees celsius. I thought I was on another planet. I kept refusing him because I had promised to carry it myself. Luko-Sandstrom hopes the documentary will resonate with its environmental message.

Luko-Sandstrom is not shy to admit her modest contribution. I bring my own shopping bag. But I also needed a break, and on some level, realized it. Three months of covering the trial of Luka Magnotta can sap you of the capacity for joy. A decade of making a dog, however splendid the dog, your sole love object, can render you a little limited. All of this had happened to me anyway, and though I live on a pretty simple plane — and am a simple and mostly happy creature — even I knew it.

And I was so distracted, near-permanently in the modern way, that I barely looked at any of the research. Jen had done in the organizing of our trip; I just paid, and went, blind and stupid as a mole emerging into the light.

We went on a tour and were hooked up with seven other people — three American engineers two Jims and a Lou , a just-retired Californian teacher Donn , a fabulous Texas woman big Southern hair, impeccable nails and makeup, even on the mountain, but all inner steel and competence nicknamed Natalya, two something Aussie women Lee and Zoey and an uber-stylish Frenchwoman named Beatrice.

At first they were a blur, but over the week of the hike, all their faces came into focus, and I realized we had a wanker-free group. I fell a little in love with them all all right, maybe one more than the others, but still , and even with Jen and Sheelagh, whom I knew pretty well already, and of course with Tanzania. Our days were startlingly uncomplicated: But the wisdom of the pace meant that as we got higher and higher, the air thinner and thinner, we could keep going where those in other groups who had bolted by us later faded.

Every day was exactly the same. Despite that, as a non-camper, I still managed to screw up the 31 or so zippers of the tent, and leave the wrong ones undone, and could distinguish my tent from the others only by hollering for Jen. I cried the first night, when some of the porters sang in Swahili and danced.

I cried with gratitude for friends, old and new. I cried at the African sky, the stars that Jen and Jim showed me. I cried at how bloody hard life is in Tanzania, and how so many of those we saw later, on the roadsides, seemed to be perpetually waiting — for a bus, for a break, for a job, for a tap on the shoulder, for something.

I cried when, after making the final ascent by moonlight, the sun breaking pink on the horizon, we got to the top of Kili. I cried, just about every time I saw them, at the elephants. Luckily, I am a practised and quiet weeper, and on the mountain at least, there was always a wind to explain my wet cheeks.

What the others most loved is for them to know. But for me, it was them, period. It was remembering, in the soaring cathedral that is Africa, how we need and want one another. The flight to Kilimanjaro was an eventful one. On the first flight to Nairobi, Lauren, Dan and I may have consumed a little bit too much alcohol. I won't go into details but it involved sleepwalk mugging of a fellow passenger, six sick bags and a nose bleed.

On arrival in Nairobi, feeling a little worse for wear, we were informed that our connecting flight to Kilimanjaro was cancelled, leaving us to explore the delights of Jomo Kenyatta international airport for 9 hours. An experience I don't wish to repeat in a hurry. The connecting flight was by turbo prop and took us over the border from Kenya to Tanzania. We hoped to catch a glimpse of the peak from the air but on this occasion it wasn't to be.

After landing and paying a fee to immigration fees to enter, fees to leave, naturally , we were met by Joseph, a young representative of Ultimate Kilimanjaro , the American trekking company we were using. Joseph had been waiting all day for our arrival but cheerfully got us into the van and transferred to our hotel.

As we drove along the southern mountain plain, the mountain remained shrouded leaving us time to slowly take in our surroundings. After an hour or so we arrived at the Stella Maris Lodge. The hotel is a non-profit organisation which uses all of it's earnings to support a school for orphans next door. If only more hotels operated on such a charitable basis. The staff were incredibly welcoming and showed us to our basic but clean rooms and gave us time to freshen up and prepare our kit for departure the following morning.

After a couple of hours we met with our guides. Meshack was the lead guide, a tall, gentle character, only 27 but with over 70 ascents under his belt and Evance, 39, Meshacks right hand man and assistant guide, silently observing the briefing.

We were informed of safety and travelling times and what to expect from our first day of trekking. These two men in particular would become the most important, caring people we could ever hope to meet and ultimately we were dependant on their knowledge to keep us alive Dramatic much? After the meeting, I saw the clouds had cleared from the mountain for the first time. We ran back up to the room and onto the balcony.

In twilight the glacier capped mountain was revealed. I cannot put into words the vastness of it but it we couldn't believe our eyes. It was beautiful moment if for no other reason than to see the look of excitement and anticipation on Lauren and Dans' silly faces. After dinner we took to a real bed for the last time in over a week. From here on out, we would be sleeping in bags under canvas. As if we needed a reminder of the fact we were in Africa, we woke to the beautiful sound of the kids chanting and clapping in the schoolyard, it was a lovely noise and humbling reminder of the privileged position we were in.

We quickly dressed and headed for breakfast before meeting with Meshack and Evance for our first health check. It was a routine we would quickly become used to and happened every morning and evening. Apologies for the following boring, scientific bit. This involved clipping a pulse oximeter to our finger to monitor how our bodies would adjust to the effects of altitude. It is a nifty little instrument that a measures pulse and b uses light to measure oxygen saturation levels in your blood.

A normal person at sea level should have a oxygen level between 95 and 99 percent. We were told that if it ever fell below a level of percent we would not be allowed to climb. We boarded the bus. She was an old girl from the 70's and made you feel all Indiana Jones, Awesome.

Our kit was strapped onto the roof under heavy tarpaulin and we got on to meet our crew who greeted us with a chorus of Jambo! The Swahili word for hello. There were fifteen people excluding us in our expedition, these included porters guides and a cook. We started on a 2 hour journey to the Kilimanjaro national park headquarters whilst the driver put on a brilliant dvd of the biggest, current African popstars, an unexpected cultural delight that had us laughing and winding in our seats.

We drove through the various villages and towns and watched African life unfold. An hour or so in we stopped at village for the porters to get some supplies. We took a look around and watched a butcher at work on a cow in a shack, he'd left the pile of legs on the floor that were quite the tripping hazard and I was reminded of the sterile, strict, health and safety environment we live in.

You'd never trip over a pile of hooves in the Co-op. Back on the bus and we drove through beautiful scenery, trundling slowly through pot holed, red earthed, dirt tracks, past little Masai children tending their goat herds and onwards to the National Park headquarters.

Here we stopped to register the crew and our names and details. We would use this check in process at every camp we arrived at, so the rangers could keep track of our progress and make sure everyone involved arrived to the next camp safely. They weighed all of our kit including tents and food and this would happen ever day to ensure nothing was left in the park.

What we took in, we had to take out. We then made our way to the Lemosho gate, the starting point of our trek, with a brief 45 minute delay to wait for an enormous lorry that had broken down on a single track road on the side of a pretty deep gorge to be pushed out of the way by 30 plus men.

Honestly, you couldn't write it. Read the rest of Noel's articles here. One of my wife's dearest friends, Cidalia Luis-Akbar, is about to do a crazy, amazing thing: They have never done anything like this before.

My wife tells me she's not even sure Cidalia has ever been camping. Indeed, climbing Kilimanjaro is a transformational, life-changing experience for pretty much everyone who makes the journey. Remarkably, many individuals like Cidalia and Natalia take the additional step of putting their personal journey in the service of a greater cause.

Even celebrities get into the act: I wanted to find out more about what motivated Cidalia and Natalia to do the climb as a way to raise money, and Cidalia agreed to answer my questions:.

Cidalia, what motivated you to make this trip up Kilimanjaro more than a personal journey? My sister Natalia and I went out to the Santa Catalina mountains in Arizona for a few days to recuperate from all of the difficulties and turmoil of the past few years and to have some sisterly bonding time.

We decided to go on a hike, my first ever. After about two hours of walking perhaps the high altitude and lack of oxygen aided in our decision the idea of us climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro began to germinate. We were asking ourselves, how do we make a difference and leave the world a better place for our children? By the time we returned from our hike we had decided to climb Kilimanjaro and to bring Childrens National Medical Center along on our journey.

Our goal is to bring the Dr. We went without obtaining permission from our insurance network, and came back to Washington without our son, with broken hearts, and with a huge medical bill. Hence my desire to raise k for a fetal monitoring system.

Six more losses and cancer would tragically follow. However, we never lost hope, and in November of , Sophia came into our lives. Today, the world is a better place because she exists. Are you and Natalia a bit anxious about leaving your children behind with your husbands while you take on this challenging climb?

Of course, we would love to have our children and husbands join us. However, with the Ebola outbreak and the long travel, we thought it better that they cheer us on from home. Lots of people don't make it to the top due to altitude sickness. Do you think having set up this journey as a charity fundraiser it might be harder to turn back if a guide says that you must? For Natalia and I, the journey is the most rewarding part of our work. We would love to make it to summit and proudly wave the Dr.

Bear flag, and shout out to the world the hopes and dreams of the children back at the hospital. However, our health and safety is very important, if we are unable to summit, we will still be very proud of our efforts and know that we gave it our best. Please tell our readers, how can they make a donation and support you and Children's Hospital on this adventure?

This is about giving from your heart for the sake of giving. If you do, know that your donation will make a powerful difference and that we are extremely grateful. Please use the following link to make a tax-deductible online contribution and to watch our video. Please share in our mission to bring CNMC to everyone in the community, and please pass our information on to all of your contacts and networks: Please support us, we can't move the mountain, but we will certainly endeavor to climb it, and proudly share the journey with you.

Tim Ward is the author of " Zombies on Kilimanjaro: Surprisingly, Shorr failed to cash at the WSOP, but that's mostly because, unlike past years, he didn't play a full schedule. In fact, Shorr made the difficult decision to take two weeks off from the game's biggest festival to attend the World Cup in Brazil.

From there, it was on to Salvador for two more games — Spain versus Netherlands and Germany versus Portugal. It was the experience of a lifetime. While an experience of a lifetime like the World Cup would be enough for some, Shorr didn't stop there.

I generally like challenges and trying to do things, so I said why not. It timed up in the sense that August is kind of a slow month poker wise, so that worked in our favor. I think the weather is going to work in our favor. As Shorr began to ponder the impending trip, the seriousness of it all, coupled with his unpreparedness, seemed to strike him.

I want to be really healthy heading into it. Indeed, Shorr, who runs frequently to stay in shape, admitted that his most challenging physical experiment up to that point was running a half marathon. I did a little camping when I was younger in Alabama. I think everything you do sort of shapes you as a person, so you have to try to get the good out of everything. Shorr departed Alabama on July 31, and 22 hours later he arrived in Tanzania.

My concern became real while waiting with many others in the lost baggage line in the third-world country — watching workers document all of the claims with paper and pen. I filed my claim and was told that my baggage was most likely in Amsterdam and wouldn't arrive in time for my hike, which was to begin in just thirteen hours. Fortunately, Shorr was able to replace those items in Africa, and the next day the trio packed into a van with 14 others to make the minute trip to the mountain.

Once they arrived, they set about their journey as the porters sprung ahead to set up camp. Even guys that weren't particularly big or were slightly overweight were getting after it.

It was, in two words, humbling and inspiring. As the clock ticked over to Thirty minutes later they were on their way. It is one of the reasons you should book your Kilimanjaro trip as soon as possible. We trekked and trekked and trekked for over four hours and I can speak for all of us when I say that we were physically and mentally exhausted. Still, there was no chance of us coming up short. The triumvirate spent 15 minutes atop Mount Kilimanjaro celebrating the feat, and while their goal may have been reached, they still needed to get down the mountain.

Still, what took seven days to climb would take less than a day to descend. My headache was pounding and I was completely exhausted. Thanks to Jesse and Paul's motivation, I eventually made it. After returning to the hotel, the first order of business was showers. The Yaginumas and Shorr flipped coins to determine the showering order, with the brothers getting the better end of the deal.

After cleaning up, the three headed down to the hotel lobby for some celebratory beers. Just when they were about to call it a night, the very men who guided them up the mountain roped the three into hitting up the club. We took over the dance floor with our favorite porter, Peter. I finally slept after 2 a. I am 1, feet away from summiting one of the most formidable mountains in the world. Standing at 19, feet, Mount Kilimanjaro still remains a mystery to most.

Although not technically challenging, it is a dangerous and difficult trek. Emotion runs through my body. I am exhausted, altitude sick and hopeful. It takes everything within me to keep moving forward to accomplish a dream that I only imagined slightly more than a year ago. How did I get here?

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