Doug Maxwell of Charleston
stands at the highest point on Mt. Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru Peak on the
volcano Kibo, 5895 meters (19,340 feet) about sea level.
Doug Maxwell, a man with one arm and one leg who
climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, is a West Virginian with Calhoun County roots.
He is the son of Steve and Donna Morris Maxwell (CCHS
Class of 1965) and the grandson of the late Don and June Burke Morris.
He is also related to the families of Dick Morris, Jane Carpenter, and
the late Carl Morris.
Calhouners prayed for him when he had his accident
30 years ago at the age of 10 and cheered for him as he marched onto the
football field with the WVU Band, carrying his 40 pound sousaphone.
The childhood accident occurred when he was
climbing a tree and had an encounter with a power line. The current went
through his body, resulting in the loss of his left arm at the shoulder
and his right leg below the knee. He was in a Pittsburgh hospital for
He has never been the kind of young man that sought
pity or special accommodations. At family gatherings, he joined in the
games with the other cousins and led them in dramatic presentations that
were high tech.
He could ski, climb Cooper’s Rock near Morgantown,
and ride a bicycle. This all helped him prepare for climbing the highest
mountain in Africa and the tallest free standing mountain in the world.
A resident of Charleston, Doug did not talk to
anyone about his plans in the beginning, because he wasn’t sure he could
achieve the goal.
He proceeded with his training plan by setting up a
walking program that included carrying a heavy pack. The next step was
taking part in CrossFit, a core strength and conditioning program. This
was followed by a trip to Florida where he had a new socket built for
He signed up for a seven-day tour out of Seattle
that cost him about $7,000, excluding his gear. It took seven days to go
up the mountain, which included a four-day safari in the Serengeti. He
completed the climb on Jan. 19.
There were 14 other travelers in the group, a few
guides and about 75 residents who helped maintain camps on the way and
carried the group’s extra gear.
Even though he was traveling with a large group, he
had a lot of time alone. The favorite part of the trip for him was the
Moorland, where climbers go through the cloud line.
Some of the trip was an ordeal.
He said, “I can walk on the balls of my feet all
day, but the uneven ground on my artificial leg was tough. I had a local
guide to help me.”
The journey took about eight grueling hours.
When asked if he would do it again, he said, “When
I first got off the mountain, I
said, ‘No way,’ but now it
is a little more appealing. Never say never.”
Doug said he felt blessed that he still has one arm
and one leg: “I can work on my old ’57 Chevy, climb mountains, and play
my guitar, just not very well. I may not be the best at everything, but
I am participating.”
Calhoun County is pleased to call Doug “one of our