Former Twins teammates and pitchers Kevin Slowey and R.A. Dickey are on the verge of climbing Africa's tallest peak -- Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Slowey, recently traded to Colorado, and Dickey, now with the New York Mets, are joined by Mets bullpen catcher David Racaniello on the 19,340-foot trek to the top. They will take their first steps skyward starting late Thursday or early Friday.

Dickey spearheaded the climb to raise money for a charity that rescues girls from enslavement in the sex trade and fights human trafficking. For more information, visit    

While Mets management has tried to discourage Dickey from the rugged pursuit, a Rockies spokesman said Thursday that Slowey has his team's blessing to tackle the arduous task.

Dickey, who has made a living throwing a knuckleball, said has no plans to throw his signature pitch when he reaches the summit.

"I need real thick air, so I'm not going to attempt a knuckleball because I'm afraid I would embarrass myself," he said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to breathe up there, much less throw a knuckleball."

Dickey said he has been fascinated with Kilimanjaro since high school, when he read Ernest Hemingway's "Snows of Kilimanjaro."

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482