Local ghost hunters to climb Kilimanjaro for a cure

REHOBOTH, Mass. (WPRI) — Two journeymen in the world of the paranormal are preparing to embark on the normal, for a leopard.

Dustin Pari, of Ghost Hunters, and Jeff Belanger, of New England Legends, are training to climb Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro, noted as the tallest volcano in the world.

But the goal of the duo, who call themselves “Paraclimbers,” is focused on raising funds, not notoriety when they climb the giant next March. 

They tested their boots on the puny, 40-foot tall Anawan Rock in Rehoboth, looking ahead to how they will train for their hike.

“It’s 19,0341 feet,” Belanger said, adding that prepping will involve a lot of “cardio.”

“It’s not so much a technical climb where you’re hanging off of ropes,” he said. “It’s more of a physical and a mental climb.”

Belanger has climbed the relative anthill known as Mount Washington, a mere 6,200 feet.

Pari’s proudest trek is much more pedestrian.

“I don’t know what I’m in for,” Pari said. “I think the highest thing I’ve climbed is Federal Hill. So, I’ve got a long way to go.”

But as Pari worked Anawan with his partner, he cut the African mammoth down to size.

“Mount Kilimanjaro is huge, right?” Pari said. “But I don’t have to climb it all at once. I just have to keep taking that next step.”

They are raising money for Climb2Cure, an arm of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society that attracts charitable mountain climbers to Kilamanjaro.

The Paraclimbers’ goal is to raise $25,000 each, or a little more than a dollar a foot, relative to the height of their trek into the clouds.The distance of the trails and jagged edges they’ll travel is about 40 miles.

“$50,000 goes a long way toward chemo therapy and to all sorts of research,” Belanger said.

Approximately 25,000 people try to climb Mount Kilamanjaro every year, but about two-thirds actually make it to the top. The Paraclimbers plan to become part of that success rate in March of next year.

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