Barnhart to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Later this month, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart is planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, the highest solitary peak in the world.

Barnhart has had other adventures -- he's skydived and climbed Mount Ranier twice, but this will be his most challenging and ambitious thing yet.

"I wanted to find something that challenged me mentally and physically and this is a good deal. And it's extremely quiet and I love nature and I will tell you when you get up high and look down low there's nothing more beautiful."

In an interview Thursday at the Joe Craft Center, Barnhart admitted he was nervous,

"I'm a little nervous about this one, this one's a little higher than I've gone before and I've heard that it's a pretty tough little trek at the end and so we'll see. If we're fortunate enough to get to the summit we'll be on top of Africa which would be a cool thing to do so we'll see."

Kilimanjaro is 19,350 feet. Barnhart said the temperature at the start of the climb would be mid-80's and below zero at the summit. He has been getting in shape working out in terrible heat.

"Brutal. I spent two hours yesterday in Commonwealth Stadium with a 25-pound vest on climbing stairs in 90 degree heat trying to get ready. I don't know if it's enough, I hope it's enough."

Barnhart will leave July 21st for Africa and the climb will begin on July 23rd. For 13 days he will be out of contact with UK athletics.

"I love being up high, there is some intrigue, there is some degree of risk, a pretty good degree of risk. Not a lot people do it, which is really good, and they can't find you very easily on the mountains the cell phones don't work," he said.