Werner Berger, 78, Leads Team to Mt. Kilimanjaro Summit
The oldest man in the world to complete the Seven Summits, Berger helps people discover their deepest potential as they climb the world’s highest peaks
There’s a saying among those who are lucky enough to join renowned mountain climber Werner Berger on one of his treks: “If Mt. Kilimanjaro can’t stop me, nothing can!” Berger smiles when he tells this story, happy to be doing what he loves best as he helps people climb some of the most exotic places in the world, break through personal boundaries, and reach new heights in personal and business success.
At 78 years, Berger is well known among the climbing community as the oldest man in the world to complete the Seven Summits, including the more challenging Messner-7 following a 6-day jungle trek to Carstensz Pyramid, Indonesia. Most recently leading a team of 15 people up Mt. Kilimanjaro, including an 85-year old woman, Berger has helped hundreds of adventurers of all ages achieve their own breakthrough dreams on guided treks around world.
“I’ve learned there is so much that people can learn about themselves while on this kind of a trip,” said Berger, who also provides transformational leadership development and mentorship both in the climbing community and in the professional world.
“Most people who accompany me on these climbs realize they are capable of so much more than they give themselves credit for. They can accomplish more physically and mentally than they ever thought. They blow themselves away discovering their true potential.”
“Beyond realizing their ultimate potential, they also are able to recognize and accept their limitations. When people understand and relish their strengths, it allows them to be more assertive. When they accept their limitations, it allows them to be more humble. When you put assertiveness and humility together, that is the foundation for true leadership.”
Realizing the potential for inviting people along on these trips who are seeking to enhance their leadership abilities, Berger’s teams are often quite diverse in age and experience, yet all sharing the same goal of overcoming their own personal limitations and reaching new personal heights.
“When a team struggles together and then finally makes it to the top, there are always feelings of great joy, camaraderie, and accomplishment,” said Berger.
Berger’s latest achievement was leading a team of 15 people up the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro, through challenging days and chilly nights with temperatures occasionally dipping below freezing in early July. All of the team made it to the high camp together, and 10 made it to the summit. Joining Berger on the trek were ARIIX Representatives Ping Shi, her son, Robert, Lisa Wong, Michael and Terri Ferguson, and Dr. Diane H. Bryan.
“We left high camp for the summit around midnight, so that we could arrive in time for sunrise,” said Berger. “It’s an amazing experience at night. It’s much colder, but the weather is far more stable than during the day. And getting there at daybreak is truly magnificent. Viewing the sunrise over the African veldt is an experience unrivaled. The visibility is astounding. Then the sun breaks the horizon and the radiant heat feels fabulous. All too soon, clouds start forming and you lose visibility of the lowlands. But those few moments of clarity on top of the world, once experienced, are never forgotten.”
“(Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro) was the hardest thing I ever did but I would not give up one day of it and, as a matter of fact, I am repeating the climb next June,” said Diane H. Bryan, Ph.D., an ARIIX Representative and one of the team members. “Werner and his team performed a climb with 15 people that was outstanding and left nothing to desire. It was eight days on the mountain with beautiful weather, outstanding services, great food, and tons of good companionship and guidance. We were treated extremely well, far beyond what I had anticipated mainly because we were on a mountain and how much can you expect in services in the middle of rock piles? It made no difference, Werner and his support partners were always there for any need and reasonable requests.”
“Werner told us in the very beginning, it would be a life changing event for all of us,” said Bryan. “It was! I would like to say that everyone could use a trip to their mountain. With that said, however, Werner made the trip doable, certainly safe and the outcome successful on all levels. No one needs to recoil from an adventure of this level when you have him at your side. The top of the mountain is a great goal but so are all the other stopping points. You will not go wrong if you join him in his adventures.”
Four days after descending on July 12, 2015, Berger celebrated his 78th birthday. He is quick to credit high-quality Nutrifii nutritional supplements as well as the unique, patented Puritii water filtration products for the team’s success.
“I always have my ARIIX products with me and everyone that climbs receives a Puritii water bottle,” said Berger. “This is extremely useful as everyone can use it to fill up at any stream or water source we encounter, freeing up many pounds of water weight other climbers usually have to carry. The supplements are also vital for supporting health and energy. The food climbers often carry doesn’t provide all the essential nutrients needed, so supplementation is absolutely essential.”
Also accompanying Berger and team for the trip was his wife, Heshie Segal. A winner of the ARIIX Generous Heart Award, Heshie remained behind where she focused on helping local children of the Kilimanjaro Center Orphanage in Moshi, Tanzania. She taught crafting skills that could be used to provide future income and, in a world where children are dying at a rate of 5,000 per day from drinking polluted water, donated as many Puritii water filter bottles as she could with the goal of distributing 1 million bottles by the end of 2020.
Berger and Segal are already planning their next trip to Kilimanjaro as well as Machu Picchu, and a trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp. “I would like to bring tourists and attention back to Nepal,” said Berger. “Since the earthquake, fear has kept people out and what the country needs most now is tourism. We are shooting for 40 people to join us on that expedition.”
“There is nothing more rewarding, when at the end of a climb you hear someone say that even though it was the hardest thing they’ve ever done, it’s the best thing they have ever done and that their life is truly changed. It’s touching when you watch them revel in the truth and emotion of what they have accomplished. Bringing people to these beautiful countries around the world, giving back to the communities, and watching team members realize new truths about themselves that change their life in a positive way—that’s what I love and why I keep doing it, again and again.”