Global Spotlight: Dennis Foster Summits Mount Kilimanjaro

Posted: Monday, September 28th 2015 at 1:57 PM

It took advice from the "Hobbit” to get Dennis Foster, senior lecturer of economics, to finally do what he had been saying he wanted to do for at least two years, as he describes it on his website (HERE).

While watching that movie, Foster was struck by the idea that all it takes to embark on an adventure is walking out your front door (as well as a lot of convincing from a wizard if you are, in fact, a Hobbit). He scheduled a flight to Africa and began preparing to summit Mount Kilimanjaro soon after this realization.

With a peak at 19,341 feet, it’s not an altitude change that the average person can easily handle; there should be at least some amount of training to acclimatize yourself and avoid altitude sickness. Foster had a slight advantage living in Flagstaff and through his experiences hiking up Mount Elden and Humphreys so, six months later, he left for his adventure.

He planned his trek with Thomson Safaris, an organization he had heard good things about, to bring him up to the top of the mountain and then back down in nine days.

“I picked a really long trip to get used to the altitude,” he explained. “And I was really happy with this tour company.”

While travelers used to be able to do the hike on their own if they wanted, it’s now required to sign up with a company to provide porters, cooks, and guides who carry luggage, set up camp, and make sure the trip is done slowly and safely. Thomson Safaris provided Foster’s group of seven hikers with an over 40-person-strong team to help them.

The group understood how to avoid altitude sickness by pacing the group going up the mountain and they provided some entertainment at camp during the tipping ceremony (HERE).

While this was his first time going up Kilimanjaro, he has also experienced other countries through participation in a study abroad program to Barcelona, Spain as an undergraduate when he also visited Morocco during spring break with some other students. These were just the early days of his international experiences though.

“In terms of this trip, I would say that one of the things I was able to take away is that people are inherently friendly, and they want to participate in the global economy,” he concluded. “People are sort of the same that way all over and yet we sometimes think they aren’t.”

Read more about his Kilimanjaro adventure on his website HERE or in the article published in the July 30, 2015 issue of the Arizona Daily Sun HERE.

Categories: global spotlight dennis foster global faculty spotlight mount kilimanjaro faculty fall 2015 2015