Hitting the high points:
Local climber sets sights on Kilimanjaro
By ROD DANIEL Staff Reporter
At 70 years old, the Italian-born rock hopper known locally as "Mountain Goat," plans to scale Africa's tallest mountain in late December with veteran mountaineer Skip Horner of Victor. Locatelli and Horner will travel to Tanzania in late December to ascend 19,300-foot Mount Kilimanjaro.
For Locatelli, the climb will come on the heels of his successful ascent of the highest peak in each of the contiguous states. He just returned two weeks ago from a trip back East during which he scaled Mount Marcy, the highest point in New York, and just one week before, he successfully climbed the highest mountain in Maine, 5,276-foot Mount Katahdin.
"The trip last week was a lot tougher than I thought," Locatelli said. "It was only 5,300 feet but the weather caught me off guard. I had to break trail through two feet of snow, but I managed to get up there without getting my feet too wet."
Last week's jaunt to the top of the Empire state was memorable, Locatelli said, not only because it culminated his series of ascents of all the peaks in the lower 48 states, but also because it allowed him to be part of a memorial to another climber.
Locatelli for 13 years has belonged to a nationwide hiking club, called the Highpointers Club, in which members seek to scale the highest points in the United States and elsewhere. Last year, the founder of the 2,500-member club, Jack Longacre, died at age 64 after requesting that his ashes be scattered on each state's highest point.
Locatelli said he offered to scatter some Longacre's ashes on Kilimanjaro.
While on his final leg of the Mt. Marcy climb last week, the Montana climber said he encountered two other "Highpointers" carrying Longacre's ashes to be scattered at the 5,344-foot summit.
"So I got to scatter some of the guy's ashes," he said. "It was a tremendous honor for me, and it was a complete surprise to run into them up there."
Some of his ascents of other state's highest points, he said, have been far less dramatic. "In some states you can drive up to the top," he said. "There's just a sign by the road."
Locatelli said planning the trip to scale Kilimanjaro has had its share of hassles because of the many rules and permits required by the Tanzanian government.