|From left to right – IAM District 140 General Chairperson Michel Pelot proudly displays the Québec Machinists flag atop Mount Kilimanjaro with fellow climber Robert Piché.|
Michel Pelot looks at cloud cover much differently than he used to, but climbing the world’s fourth largest mountain tends to change one’s perspective on such things.
In late September, Pelot embarked on a seven-day climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise funds for the Robert Piché Foundation. “I began training for this in January, but even that didn’t prepare me for the strain this climb placed on my body,” said the IAM District 140 General Chairperson. “It’s really amazing to walk above the clouds but with 50 percent less oxygen and your heart beating much faster than normal. We each drank four liters of water every day and we were physically monitored three times daily for blood pressure and lung capacity.”
The climb is limited to five to six hours each day, which includes camping in tents under the stars and above the clouds where temperatures can dip down to minus 27 degrees.
“The last day of the climb took seven hours to reach the summit at 19,341 feet, where Robert Piché and I raised the IAM flag. Our stay there was a brief one, just 45 minutes, in order to descend to our base camp during daylight hours”
The Robert Piché Foundation assists people with alcohol, drug and gambling dependencies. This climb raised more than $76,000 for the Foundation. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said a satisfied Pelot. “I’ll never look at clouds the same way again.”