The father-son team climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to benefit North Coast Community Homes celebrating the most special Father's Day.


The father-son team climbing the world tallest free-standing mountain - for their favorite local charity - are really celebrating Father's Day today -- because they have made it to the top!

Tom and Pat Finley scaled the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro this weekend - what's amazing is that Tom is 79 years old.

It took them a week to make it to the top of the mountain, which is more than 19,000 feet tall.

Tom and Pat decided to take the trek to help support North Coast Community Homes, an organization which develops homes for people with disabilities all across Northeast Ohio.

You can congratulate them by making a contribution to their cause - and you'll find the full story and a link to their special website below.

Thursday Update: The father-son team which is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to benefit a Northeast Ohio charity managed to get a cell phone call through to from the mountain to Cleveland tThursday. Pat and Tom Finley spotted a porter leaning on the edge of a rock, using a cell phone. Pat used his, and it worked!

The duo, raising funds for North Coast Community Homes, slept Wednesday night, their fourth evening on the mountain, at the Barranco Wall Camp, elevation 13,077 feet. The temperature Wednesday was 40 degrees and fell to 20 degrees overnight. Obviously the temperatures will become colder the higher they climb.

Related story:Local dad and son climb Kilimanjaro for charity

North Coast Community Homes Fundraiser Page

Pat , 49, said they are both doing as well as can be expected and that everybody is blown away at how well Tom Sr., 79, is doing. It is getting to the point when they can really feel the lack of oxygen, but in his next sentence Pat announced they "are doing very well."

Here is how Pat, the chairman of the Board of Trustees of NCCH, describes their typical day. They wake up at 6:30 a.m. and eat breakfast, have their medical check, and start climbing. There is a half hour stop for lunch and the team immediately continues to climb again. The daily climb is equivalent to working out for 8 hours a day, and is incredibly exhausting!

Dinner is served around 5:30 PM and then all the climbers go into their tents. (It gets dark very early since it is their winter.) Pat tells us the minute you get into your tent you lie down, are "beyond wiped out," and even somewhat disoriented. The most difficult thing so far is that it is very difficult to sleep more than an hour at a time without waking up gasping for oxygen. Your heart and pulse are racing and the lack of sleep makes everything that much more difficult.

Thursday, Pat and Tom started climbing the Barranco Wall. It is a huge climb! Thursday evening, their 5th night on Kilimanjaro, will be spent sleeping at the Karanga Camp, elevation 13,235 feet.

On Friday it's an all-day climb with overnight at the Barafu Camp, 15,295 feet high!

Saturday, June 14 they wake up in the middle of the night and start climbing to the Summit – the goal more than 140 sponsorsosrs of their trip are generously supporting them in reaching! Once they have reached the Summit at 19,341 feet, Pat and Tom will descend soon after to get to a lower and more tolerable elevation. Saturday evening will be spent at Crater Camp which is at 18,796 feet.

On Sunday, Pat and his dad will celebrate the most special Father's Day together. They will continue to descend Mt. Kilimanjaro until they arrive at Mweka Camp where they will sleep at elevation 10,190 feet. Their final descent Monday, which is Pat's 50th birthday, will take them to the Mweka Gate for breakfast and a transfer to their hotel which is at 6,000 feet.

The ride back to the hotel takes over five hours on a dirt winding road, but the destination will be their first night to sleep in a bed in more than a week. From their perch some three miles above the African plains, Pat and Tom also sent their sincere thanks to all those who are backing their mission and supporting North Coast Community Homes.

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