Redpoint Resolutions and Tusker Trail Team Up to Rescue Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climbers

10 March 2015

Working together with adventure travel partner and renowned Tusker Trail founder Eddie Frank, former Army Ranger and Redpoint Resolutions VP Tom Bochnowski with Redpoint wilderness medical expert and Stanford Medicine-affiliated physician Avi Patil provide life- saving emergency response and evacuation services on Mt. Kilimanjaro at 13,000 feet. Their combined expertise and teamwork resulted in two necessary and successful medical rescues off Mt. Kilimanjaro. Both climbers evacuated have since returned home safely.

Pofu Camp 13,000 ft. – afternoon prior to evacuation.

“On the 2nd night at 13,000 feet, at approximately 2:30am local time, one climber indicated that he couldn’t breathe. With his oxygen level at 60% the situation was clearly High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) - fluid in the lungs - which was audible by stethoscope. While Redpoint VP Tom Bochnowski, using his Satellite Phone, personally called and activated our response network, I worked with Tusker Trail owner Eddie Frank to assess the patient. Thankfully Tusker carries oxygen and a Portable Altitude Chamber which we used to stabilize the patient, since descent in the middle of the night was not possible.  With the temperature at just 2 degrees outside, pressure was maintained by foot pump, operated personally by Tom, Eddie, myself, and our guides Shabani, Simon and Kombe - all trained by Eddie as High Altitude First Responders. Soon after, another climber had serious facial swelling, and an allergic reaction. Both situations were immediate and life-threatening. Both evacuations were necessary and successful leading to restored health at home,” explains Redpoint’s Avi Patil.

Tusker’s Portable Altitude Chamber. This critical piece of equipment helped stabilize the HAPE patient during the night while Redpoint brought in the rescue helicopter.
Tusker’s Portable Altitude Chamber. This critical piece of equipment helped stabilize the HAPE patient during the night while Redpoint brought in the rescue helicopter.

According to Tusker’s Eddie Frank, “We only have one or two evacuations a year and they occur because of life-threatening emergencies. Emergencies that are immediate and now. There is zero room for hesitation or error. Redpoint Resolutions founders Ted Muhlner and Tom Bochnowski are two guys who understand commitment. When they say they’re going to do something, they do it. I chose their Ripcord Travel Protection program for my climbers and trekkers because Tom and Ted come from the military, where your word and your handshake mean everything. Tom Bochnowski joined me on our recent Kilimanjaro Climb for Valor. During this climb two of our climbers suffered high altitude emergencies. Tom worked hand in hand with me to ensure the successful helicopter evacuation of the two climbers. Redpoint’s Stanford Medicine-affiliated physician Avi Patil, who was also climbing with us, assisted me with critical medical decisions that helped prevent a bad outcome. The teamwork and the level of care and commitment provided to my climbers and me during these recent evacuations has only further cemented my team’s partnership with Redpoint and their Ripcord Travel Protection program. After more than 39 years and 51 successful climbs, recommending Ripcord for my climbers is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Using an improvised landing zone, the helicopter lands near daybreak.

Bochnowski describes that following morning, “At first light, while the rest of climbers continued to ascend, we worked through various scenarios and identified the best options for a safe and secure helicopter landing. Avi focused on the patients while our Redpoint team coordinated the patient treatment and evacuation plan. Together with Eddie and his Tusker team, we cleared camp and moved rocks to create an improvised helicopter landing zone. We made it work.”

Early that morning, Redpoint evacuated the two climbers off the mountain and transported them to a local hospital for treatment. Both climbers made full recoveries.

Bochnowski signals rescue helicopter.

The Climb for Valor group began their ascent on February 17, and descended on the 25th.

To learn more about the Ripcord Travel Protection program, please visit: and

For more on Redpoint Resolutions’ commitment to adventure and giving, including Climb for Valor activities, please contact [email protected].

100% of the money raised by Climb for Valor activities will go directly to the Duskin & Stephens Foundation

Climb for Valor team at Kilimanjaro summit.