TANZANIA - U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Shepherd, senior enlisted advisor, Palehorse Troop, 4th Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment, pursued his dream of climbing the tallest peak in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, June 30, 2019. The climb to Uhuru Peak took him five days in total to accomplish and another day and a half to reach the base of the mountain again.
Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is a dormant volcano that rises 5,895-meters above sea level, making it the tallest point in Africa. Shepherd has always enjoyed hiking, skiing and spending time in the outdoors. For him, it's a way to decompress and enjoy nature.
Three years ago, Shepherd and his younger brother Patrick Shepherd discussed and came to the conclusion that climbing Kilimanjaro would be an unforgettable experience. In August 2018, they began preparing for their trip, raising money and getting the equipment necessary for such a huge undertaking. On June 30 they began their climb. The climb itself wasn't technically difficult, and though they didn't need tools such as ropes and ice axes, the air above 4,000 meters has far less oxygen than that at sea level.
"You can really feel it up there!" said Shepherd.
On the fifth day, at 7:45 a.m., Shepherd and his brother made it to Uhuru Peak, witnessing the most astounding sunrise of their lives.
As a leader in the U.S. Army, Shepherd, has enjoyed the opportunity to help other Soldiers set goals, plan for their success and help them to accomplish their objectives. He also encourages his Soldiers to reflect along the way,
"Often along the way, you can retrospect on the amazing things you've experienced," said Shepherd.
Overall, what he found most fulfilling on this trip, and other expeditions, was bringing others along with him, helping them overcome an obstacle, and in the end, standing at the top.
"The shared accomplishment and amazing views are always worth the work," said Shepherd.