Rapid City man goes to new heights in Africa and shares his experience
Bob Julius is a math teacher at Stevens High School and he recently went to Africa, specifically Tanzania, and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa.
Why did you climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
“Long story short, but it kind of started out as just it’s there, it’s the tallest peak in Africa, it would be kind of cool,” Bob said. “And it kind of morphed into this idea of, ‘I want to do something to challenge me, not just physically, but also mentally.’ In the past, I’ve always had some struggles and try to be open with my mental health, and this was just something that I thought if I could do it, if I could make myself go out of my comfort zone and achieve it, just a huge win in that area of my life.”
Take a look at Bob’s Mount Kilimanjaro adventure!
How far up is the climb?
The elevation of Mount Kilimanjaro is 19,341 feet.
“Which in Rapid City terms, is about two-and-a-half, almost three, Black Elk Peaks,” said Bob. “And it took us eight days to climb it. It’s about six-and-a-half days to get to the summit and then a day-and-a-half to get down.”
“I think it’s good to see that if it’s something you put your mind to, and you put in the work to achieve something, you can do it,” Bob said. “Already, I’ve had friends talking about wanting to do it, and I’d be more than happy to always share information with them and answer questions they’ve got.”
What lessons are you taking away from your experience?
“One of the things they taught us in Swahili, their native language, one of the phrases was ‘polepole’ which means ‘slowly slowly.’ And so they really like to take our time as we’re climbing up the mountain so that your body gets used to the elevation,” Bob explained. “So they say, ‘Go polepole.’ And so, kind of taking that into my own life, I just get very busy a lot of the time, I think it’s just good to take that idea of ‘Take a deep breath.'”
The idea is you don’t need to rush through something, you’ll get it done and just trust that it’s going to happen.
Did you do any training, physical or mental, to take on this mountain?
“Yeah, a lot of the physical training I did, try to do as much hiking as I can, which is super easy to do with our area,” said Bob. “But to get a little more of that altitude, I would go down to Colorado as much as I could.”
In addition to the mountains in Colorado, Bob would train in the gym, including a lot of the Stairmaster.
To mentally stay in the game, Bob said building the camaraderie with new friends was a huge aspect.
“To help each of us keep on walking when someone was feeling tired or getting a headache, not wanting to eat and just helping each other keep that attitude was huge,” said Bob. “Also, knowing I had such great support back home, family, friends, knowing I was going on this climb.”
Would you recommend this for anyone else?
“100%, especially the group I went with, Climb Kili, our guide was outstanding.”
Is there somewhere where folks can either view your trip or ask you questions?
“Yeah, I posted a lot to my Facebook page and so always feel free to go check that out,” Bob said.