GOOLWA – Beach goers may have been a little confused to see a woman walking along Goolwa and Middleton with her “Hannibal Lecter” mask in recent months.
Mia Giltinan has been walking the beach daily with an altitude training mask in preparation for scaling Africa’s highest summit, Mount Kilimanjaro, in January 2017.
Kilimanjaro’s peak is 5,895 metres (19,300 feet) above sea level.
“Because it’s hard for me to get to altitude, I train with the altitude mask about two hours each day, so I look quite silly on the beach with the mask and ankle weights,” Mia said.
“I usually wave to people on the beach, I just don’t want to look like Hannibal Lecter.”
Mia, who is from the USA, will climb with two female friends as a fundraiser for Ikirwa School, near the city of Arusha, in Tanzania.
Money raised will fund the school’s construction project – making more room for the growing numbers of students able to attend.
“Ikirwa School is a beautiful project that was co-founded by our guide organisation Team Kilimanjaro,” she said.
Mia’s team has a fundraising goal of $US15,000. The total goal with other climbing teams is $US45,000.
She said they picked Team Kilimanjaro as guides, as they were committed to locals, respected the culture, and valued individuals by paying staff a living wage.
Mia studies Community Development and became connected to Goolwa since moving to the area in February.
“I think community is very important and I like to do my part,” she said.
“This project is about overcoming adversity and raising money for a charity at the same time.
“I started with the mask set to 5000 feet, and worked my way up to 15,000. Even when I first started at 5000 I was overwhelmed with a real sense of panic.”
She said the altitude will be the biggest challenge.
“You can feel fatigued, dizzy, and like you have half the oxygen you have available normally, headaches, quick dehydration,” she said.
“With further training I should be able to get to 19,000 feet.”
To find out more about Mia’s fundraising, visit www.fundideaz.com/campaign/40/climbing-for-education