Former Twins teammates and pitchers Kevin Slowey and R.A. Dickey have reached Africa's tallest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, just in time to soak in a radiant sunrise above the clouds.
Slowey, recently traded to Colorado, and Dickey, now with the New York Mets, were joined by Mets bullpen catcher David Racaniello as they made it to the top of the 19,340-foot summit over the weekend.
While Mets management tried to discourage Dickey from the arduous pursuit, the Rockies were fine with Slowey going ahead.
In preparation for the final leg, Dickey said in his New York Times blog, "I put my earphones in and turned on my fully charged iPod to distract me from the elements. . . . Four songs in, the iPod froze even though I had it in one of the pockets on an inner layer. Now, it was just me and the mountain."
Five hours later, "we were all feeling pretty good," he wrote. "We had passed a half-dozen people who had to stop and turn back because of fatigue or altitude sickness. The extreme gradient of the slope partnered with the duration of the ascension to form a tag team that was kicking my butt."
Dickey said that he and the others "reached the summit just as the glow from the sun was trying to make its way over the eastern part of the mountain. We had done it! We gave hugs and high-fives all around above the clouds at the highest point in Africa."
Dickey said he has been fascinated with Kilimanjaro since high school, when he read Ernest Hemingway's "Snows of Kilimanjaro."
He spearheaded the nine-day climb to raise money for a charity that rescues girls from enslavement in the sex trade and fights human trafficking. For more information, visit www.crowdrise.com/BombayTeenChallenge.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482