Ducks Unlimited has reached many high conservation milestones since 1937, but recently the DU flag was fluttering at its highest point ever: the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Dan O'Neal, retired DU regional director, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in northeast Tanzania, Africa, and after reaching the 19,331 foot summit, he unfurled the DU flag. Climbing with his Tanzanian guide, O'Neal was thrilled to summit Africa's highest peak and share his accomplishment with his DU family. He passed out DU hats to the guides and sherpas while they assisted him with his climb. He explained the difficulty with the climb wasn't the technical climbing aspect, but the altitude. This is why only 12 of the original 29 climbers managed to reach the summit.
"When you are climbing there are only so many things you can put in your pack, the DU flag was one thing I had to take," O'Neal said. "We had to wait a few minutes for the wind to die down, but we managed to get it out and displayed for the photo."
In typical regional director fashion, O'Neal jokingly admitted that he told his guide that the two of them were now considered the official DU Mt. Kilimanjaro Chapter.
"I believe that is the highest elevation the DU flag has ever been displayed," O'Neal said. "I challenge anyone else to get it higher."
O'Neal, who lives in Spartanburg, S.C., plans on continuing to climb and push himself to the next peak. His next challenge is Mt. Elbrus outside of Moscow, Russia. Mt. Elbrus is an 18,442-foot peak, but there is much more technical and ice climbing involved. O'Neal, more than likely will be the founder of the Mt. Elbrus DU Committee as well.