Reaching New Heights
In his quest to scale the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, Philadelphia’s Tarik Moore has the adventure of a lifetime.
by Gwyneth Donahue

To some people, scaling a 19,340-foot-tall mountain would wrack the nerves, but Tarik Moore saw it as an adventure. On June 14, the 34-year-old Philadelphian traded his dress shoes for hiking boots and flew to Tanzania, Africa, with 10 other adventurers to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

While growing up in a housing project in Jersey City, N.J., Moore did not have access to many outdoor experiences. So as an adult, he decided to amend the situation by joining Outdoor Afro (, a nonprofit organization that connects African Americans throughout the country to outdoor experiences.
Moore began training for his ascent nearly a year ago. Having completed his first-ever backpacking trip just last year, he knew he had to ramp up his training regimen well in advance of his journey. He hiked after work at Valley Forge National Historical Park and did a half-mile loop at lunch. Once on the ground in Africa, Moore had many thoughts flooding his mind as he took his first few steps of the climb: Am I dreaming? What am I doing here? I’m so lucky to be here. Will I survive the first day?
Despite his training, Moore says the climb was long and strenuous. One day, his team hiked for more than 11 hours. As the team drew closer to the summit, Mother Nature intervened. Wind speeds picked up and became so treacherous that, at one point, Moore felt as though he was not able to breathe. Due to the severe conditions, Moore turned back at 17,000 feet, though the team as a whole was successful in its quest.  
Looking back on his expedition, Moore focuses on the importance of the journey, not just getting to the top. In other words, he says, “It isn’t all about summiting.”
Having returned to his lifestyle as an accountant, a husband and a father of three, Moorehas a new perspective on life and a reinvigorated passion for hiking. In fact, he’s already back to climbing, but this time at Philadelphia Rock Gym. 
Photograph courtesy of Outdoor Afro