PHOENIX — A Phoenix-area grandmother is poised to become the oldest woman to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
For the past year, 85-year-old Anne Lorimor from Paradise Valley has been training to climb the highest peak in Africa.
“I know what I can do and I know that I’ve got real changes here like altitude sickness that people get, I’m going to have to be very careful,” Lorimor said. “I have gone to high places and not been as breathless as other people so I am going to do it.”
The New Mexico native said she has been climbing mountains since she was a child, and while she is not a professional hiker, Lorimor is confident she will reach the top.
“I’ve always liked climbing ever since I was a little girl,” she said. “I grew up in the mountains of northern New Mexico and everywhere I have been I have climbed whenever there has been mountains to climb.”
Lorimor isn’t embarking on this journey on whim, however. While she doesn’t consider herself a professional climber, she has traveled to more than 100 countries and climbed dozens of mountains, including four peaks with an elevation greater than 14,000 feet. In fact, at 76, Lorimor summited Pike’s Peak in Colorado, which stands 14,115 feet.
While climbing Kilimanjaro has been one of Lorimor’s lifelong dreams, she is also doing it to raise money for her organization the Challenge Youth Fund, which helps disadvantaged children.
“I know that if somebody doesn’t help the children that are from the disadvantaged areas they are not going to get the same chances as other kids and I want them to have it,” she said.
Lorimor leaves Phoenix Sky Harbor this Saturday for Tanzania, Africa. The climb is expected to take eight days.