The tale of the trek 

How octogenarians Martin and Esther Kafer climbed Kilimanjaro, set a world record and found both hope and despair

click to flip through (5) BY SUE OAKEY-BAKER

Page 10 of 10

"And I did too and I am 85," beams Martin.

"Are you happy you did it?" I ask.

"Oh yes. It had a very special purpose and we met so many great people." Esther smiles.

"Yes, and engaging in a cause gives you that extra bit of satisfaction that makes it more than just climbing another mountain." Martin's blue eyes shine.

"Would you do it again?"

"No!" they say in unison.

"Esther wants to go rafting in the Northwest Territories or Alaska. So that will be our next adventure," says Martin.

Sue Oakey-Baker is a guide, teacher, painter and writer and lives with her husband and son in Whistler. Her first book "Finding Jim" will be published in September 2013 by Rocky Mountain Books.


Dementia is the umbrella term of which Alzheimer's is the most common form. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and always fatal disease that destroys cell-to-cell connections in the brain. In late stages, a person with Alzheimer's is no longer physically or mentally capable of caring for themselves. Although there is no cure, you can lower your risk by leading a healthy lifestyle. It is not just an old person's disease. In the past few years, the first baby boomers turned 65, which has increased the demand on our resources by about 34 per cent. And now we're seeing people under 65 getting dementia. In British Columbia, 70,000 people have Alzheimer's and 10,000 of those are under the age of 65. The median age of Whistler is rising and now one-fifth of the permanent population is between the ages of 45 and 64. If you think you have symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, see your doctor immediately. The contact for Alzheimer's BC in Whistler is, 1-866-964-8348

The Kilimanjaro Ascent For Alzheimer's fundraiser happens each September.

We have an over 90 per cent success rate of reaching the summit and all money raised goes to the Alzheimer Society of BC. If you are interested in donating or participating in this event, or the hike up the Grouse Grind that happens concurrently, please visit or e-mail

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