"You breathe and you breathe and you breathe. And then you take a step." That's how Finbar O'Sullivan, a member of the Rotary Club of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, described climbing to the summit of 23,000-foot Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere. "It was physically brutal . . . probably one of the hardest things I think I've ever done."
O'Sullivan, 56, says he joined the Kelowna club two years ago because of Rotary's commitment to ending polio. He was part of a team of seven climbers from Kelowna, including four Rotarians, and a guide who made the ascent in December, raising US$48,000 for Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge. The feat was part of the club's Peaks for Polio project to raise awareness of the disease and funding to help eradicate it. The project's goal is to make the climb an annual fundraiser until Rotary's challenge ends on 30 June 2012.