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Nicole vs. Mount Kilimanjaro

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A charity fund forHartley House

$20,273 given of $19,341 goal

Nicole vs. Mount Kilimanjaro

Started by: Nicole Cicogna


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Nicole vs. Kilimanjaro

Nicole L. Cicogna, Executive Director of Hartley House, can tell you first hand that running a small nonprofit serving a vibrant but systemically disadvantaged community in New York City can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Since 1897, Hartley House has not only worked to meet the immediate, tangible needs of its neighbors, but to empower each and every person who walks through its doors to find their voice, develop lasting skills, and strengthen their connections to each other and their community. Today in 2016, rising costs, increasingly competitive funding, and a refusal to cut corners in the vital services Hartley House delivers to its neighbors of all ages mean its dedicated staff consistently go the extra mile, and Nicole will be the first to tell you that makes all the difference.

Well now, Nicole is putting her (or rather, your!) money where her mouth is. Not only is she going the extra mile, she’s going several extra miles, and challenging ones at that: On October 1, Nicole will set out to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness and all-important funds for Hartley House. She is staging a good old fashioned trek-a-thon to raise at least $1 for each of Kilimanjaro’s 19,341 feet of elevation in critical funds to ensure the House’s innovative programs remain available to the neighborhood for many more years to come.

Just one little thing: Nicole is a born and bred city girl, whose highest summit to date is the 1,050-foot observation deck of the Empire State Building. When she was a teenager. By elevator. In heels. As you know [can imagine], even for an experienced climber, a trek like this will require a wide range of equipment, preparation, and support to ensure success. But if there’s anything she’s learned from her beloved Hartley House family, it’s that belief can be your most powerful weapon, and that no summit is too high when you have the right tools, the proper training, a positive attitude, and people who always have your back.

We would be incredibly honored if you would have Nicole’s back and sponsor her trek at $1 per foot. We look forward to acknowledging our many donors and supporters on our website and social media. Stay tuned for more information about the work of Hartley House, how you can support Nicole, and updates on her training and trek!


*Match-Up Stats*

Nicole L. Cicogna

Hartley House Executive Director & 1st time climber/hiker/camper

Age: North of “29”

Height: 5’6” (5’10” nearly every day in heels)

Favorite exercise: shoe shopping

Training: Walking 10,000 steps a day, daily cardio, decreased caloric intake, running (just started this!), and strength and mental training to begin July 1st

Average trek: 4 blocks to the subway

Number of nights spent in a tent previously: In a pop-up, zip-up tent? 0

Highest altitude achieved: 1,050 feet (Empire State Building observation deck . . . Via elevator…in heels)

Special Skills: Can whip up an Excel spreadsheet in no time!


Mount Kilimanjaro

Africa’s tallest peak, tallest free standing mountain in the world

Height: 19,341 feet

Average high temperature at base in Oct. 80 degrees

Average low temperature at summit in Oct. -15 degrees

Length of hike (days/miles): 11 days

Ave. daily altitude gain/loss: 1,600

Special Skills: Creates its own weather system.

Latest Update

Taking in the moment from the roof of Africa!

Posted by Nicole

October 31 at 9:27am

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Today, we heard from Nicole herself about her summit experience! Thank you all for your overwhelming support and generosity! "After eight grueling days of climbing and hiking in brutal conditions, and nine hours on summit day, I actually conquered Mount Kilimanjaro! The morning of the summit attempt, we were up at 3:00am for breakfast at 3:30am with a 4:00am start time. We departed in the pitch black with headlamps in zero degree weather. NINE HOURS of uphill hiking later - with very little oxygen - I reached the summit! I was the last in the group to summit, but's that ok because I did it! Thank you all for your amazing support and love during this journey. It has meant so much to me! With hard work and a little bit of magic, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!"

Posted by Nicole

October 13 at 11:31am

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It's official! We received word via satellite phone today confirming that Nicole successfully summited Mt. Kilimanjaro yesterday afternoon, and is safely on her way back to base camp. Hartley House could not be prouder of her incredible accomplishment and dedication to the community of Hell's Kitchen! And we are just over $600 shy of our fundraising goal! Let's congratulate Nicole by closing that gap!

Posted by Nicole

October 12 at 12:59pm

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After six months of training and preparation, seven full days of trekking, and nearly 10 hours of trekking today alone, Nicole will reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro! Today, Nicole crosses into Kilimanjaro’s Arctic Zone, inching her way to the highest peak through a harrowing terrain of towering glaciers, her most treacherous trek to date. Join Hartley House’s After School students in cheering Nicole on here: and spread the word to help us close our final $2,208 gap to reach our goal!

Posted by Nicole

October 11 at 8:48am

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Maria Chachere — 13 weeks ago

You did it Nicole!!! I knew you would!! Awesome job Girl!!!

Kerey Butler — 13 weeks ago

So proud of you Nicole!

Annette Maier — 13 weeks ago

OMG!!! I Knew you would do my friend should b sooo proud of yourself, I know I am!!❤️❤️❤️❤️ Safe travels back down my friend!!

RoseAnn Auletta — 13 weeks ago

HIP HOP HOORAY!! I am so so happy for you! You are an amazing woman - I just got this post today and it's for you - argh can't post it but it says "If you can dream it, you can do it". And you did it baby!!! Now go have fun with the gorillas. 🐒🐒Hahaha. Love you xoxo

Deborah LaBelle-Mercora — 13 weeks ago

Whoo hoo! You did it! I knew you would! You are my hero and an inspiration for all who ever doubt themselves! Love you so much! Congratulations!

Barbara Ann Panzarella Carroll — 13 weeks ago

Omg, omg, OMG,...Nicole you did it!!! I just heard from your momma, She said you called her to tell her that you made to the top.. you are my hero.. how truly's a good thing your hiking heels held up, cause they are some big heels to fill sista..can't wait to see you and give you a big hug...your momma is so proud of you...and so am you to the Mountain and back!!! Now on to the monkies..I mean Gorillas...just be carefull, I hear the gorillas like to wear heels!!! Lmao.😅. .Woo hoooo...🗻🐒🌋

Vanessa Filippi — 13 weeks ago


Nicole gained some serious ground over the weekend – 2,360 feet in elevation - “pole, pole” or slowly, slowly according to local guides. On Sunday, Nicole witnessed a placid, high-elevation lake and camped in an alcove in the walls of Kilimanjaro’s second –tallest volcanic cone, Mawenzi Peak. Today, Nicole continues steadily toward the summit, enjoying some of the most spectacular views on the mountain: a welcome reward for 8 days of incredibly difficult climbing! Nicole will rest overnight for her hardest trekking day yet tomorrow at Outward Bound Camp, situated at a staggering 15,450 feet! As of today, we have raised $17,133 of our $19,341 goal to support Hartley House’s critical programs in Hell’s Kitchen, and Nicole still has 3,891 feet to summit Mount Kilimanjaro! Help us reach and exceed our goals by making a donation today! Elevation: 15,450 feet Funds Raised: $17,133

Posted by Nicole

October 10 at 8:38am

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Nancy Roecklein — 13 weeks ago

Wow- you are some awesome kind of woman! Soooo excited, proud and amazed by you. We need to have a YUGE celebration upon your return! STAY SAFE xoxo

RoseAnn Auletta — 13 weeks ago

Oppsy pressed send by accident...I haven't finished. LOL. You have one goal in site and you will make it!! I can only imagine all the moments that took your breath away!! ALMOST THERE and I CAN SEE YOU ON TOP OF THAT MOUNTAIN!! WHOOP WHOOP! We are all still with you. ❤️❤️👍👊💪💪💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻

RoseAnn Auletta — 13 weeks ago

Keep going girl!!! Staying mindful

Barbara Ann Panzarella Carroll — 14 weeks ago

OMG,,,,Cowee....Getting closer...WOO HOOOOOO....One more round!!!! You are doing it!!! Hehehehehe...So excited....Love you...

Deborah LaBelle-Mercora — 14 weeks ago

Almost there! You go girl! You've got this!

Nicole Vs. Kilimanjaro: Round 5 Elevation: 11,450 feet Thank you all for your generosity - we are just $2,708 away! Please remember to keep sharing Nicole’s progress with your friends and family to help us meet our goal! Today’s 5-7 hour trek will cross into the Moorland zone, filled with unique vegetation and a cloud-covered terrain of volcanic rock. This part of the route is virtually deserted by animal life, offering vast wilderness views in near silence and total isolation. The final destination today is Rongai Caves.

Posted by Nicole

October 7 at 10:11am

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Peggy Kaylor — 13 weeks ago

👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻You go girl !!

Deborah LaBelle-Mercora — 14 weeks ago

Near silence, total isolation! Sounds like my kind of place, maybe only for a day though! I can't even imagine how you must feel, getting as far as you did so far! You are amazing girl! Getting closer every day! NCvs.MK? I pick Nicole for the win!!! 😚😚😚

Barbara Ann Panzarella Carroll — 14 weeks ago

Sookie sookie now....round 5, cool beans sista...One day at a time, one step at a time, one round at a time...closer and closer mama...wooo hooo!!!! but i would love to see what you look like right about now, trekking with those poles and you are probably bundled up to heels on this trip for you!!! love and miss ya much <3

Nicole Vs. Kilimanjaro: Round 4 Elevation: 13,200 feet Nicole’s route is called the “grand traverse” for a reason: over the next few days, she will actually lose over 2,000 feet of elevation as she circumnavigates Kilimanjaro’s peak through an other-worldly landscape of towering Giant Groundsels, found only on Kilimanjaro, and volcanic rock formations. 5-7 hours of trekking today will lead to Pofu camp, offering stunning views of Kenya’s vast badlands. Help us remind Nicole what she's climbing for! Donate now to help us reach our $19,341 goal!

Posted by Nicole

October 6 at 11:31am

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Barbara Ann Panzarella Carroll — 14 weeks ago

Holy mountain climb batman...I mean Guurrllll you are doing it!! Round 4...Sooo amazing....Just texted with your mom and she said you were able to call her from someones satellite phone...She was soooo happy she heard your voice and she said you sounded happy too...You go girl! You got this.Can't wait to see you and hear all about it it!!!! Muuaawwww Love you!!!

RoseAnn Auletta — 14 weeks ago

Woohooo!! So cool!! You keep going honey & you got this!! The joy is in the journey! Love you

RoseAnn Auletta — 14 weeks ago

Woohooo!! So cool!! You keep going honey & you got this!! The joy is in the journey! Love you

Today is Nicole’s first heavy day of trekking, with a 4-5 hour leg to Moir camp across the Shira plateau, the highest plateau in the world at an average 12,500 feet of elevation. Crossing into the Alpine Desert zone of the mountain, Nicole will have spectacular views of the glacier-covered peak of Kibo, one of Kilimanjaro’s three dormant volcanic cones. Elevation: 13,700 feet

Posted by Nicole

October 5 at 10:45am

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Deborah LaBelle-Mercora — 14 weeks ago

OMG! You're doing it Nicole! Whoo hoo!

Annette Maier — 14 weeks ago

You got this Nicole one step at a time!!! Enjoy the journey be in the moment and enjoy the views...SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!

Barbara Ann Panzarella Carroll — 14 weeks ago

Whoop whoop round 3...before you know it you'll be on top of the world...well almost.. can doooo ittttt....

Nicole vs. Kilimanjaro, Round 2: Today’s the day! Nicole departs on her first official day of trekking, a light introduction of 1-2 hours through plains, coffee farms and rainforest. By the end of the day, Nicole will reach Shira 1, a camp in Kilimanjaro’s heather region, so named for vast expanses of wild-flower fields. Here, above the tree-line of Kilimanjaro’s rainforest zone, temperatures vary drastically from day to night, clouds seem to float at eye level, and the night sky is filled with a spectacular display of stars! Elevation: 11,499 feet

Posted by Nicole

October 4 at 8:46am

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Barbara Ann Panzarella Carroll — 14 weeks ago

Yayyyy Nicole...You got this mama!! So exciting. You are so amazing. Faith not fear, safety not carelessness and an experience of a lifetime!!! Whoop whoop..I still want one of those monkies!!! :) <3 Can't wait for more updates!!!!!

Nicole has arrived on Mount Kilimanjaro and is set reach the summit on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11! We need YOUR HELP to get her there, so please share our campaign with your friends, family, and colleagues! Nicole Vs. Kilimanjaro, Round 1: After a nearly 24-hour flight, Nicole has arrived at Ndarakwai Ranch, which serves as base-camp for the trek to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Nicole will have the chance to acclimatize to the altitude with a nature walk through Ndarakwai’s diverse terrain of acacia covered savannah, forests, and farm villages. After decades of unregulated grazing, tree cutting, and rampant poaching, the area was nearly a wasteland; but conservation efforts since the 90’s have attracted resident wildlife populations back, including giraffes, blue monkeys, elephants, and over 350 species of birds! Tomorrow, Nicole begins her official ascent! Elevation: 11,131 feet Funds raised: $15,088

Posted by Nicole

October 3 at 12:01pm

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How you feel when you make it to the top of your first significant hike! Storm King Mountain = Conquered

Posted by Nicole

June 30 at 12:31pm

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Thank you all for your encouragement and support! I'm 30 days into training and I feel great. It has not been easy; but, anything worthwhile comes with challenges. I have now walked 300,000 steps: approximately 150 miles. This is my motivation every morning: accountability. I've done a lot of extra cardio and have been eating well. Super excited and looking forward to the next three months of training!

Posted by Nicole

June 24 at 8:56am

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Show 11 more updates


JFK - 10 feet

Trek-A-Thon JFK sponsor


11 left

Nadarakwai - 25 feet

Trek-A-Thon Ndarakwai Ranch sponsor



Base Camp - 50 feet

Trek-A-Thon Base Camp Sponsor



Shira - 100 feet

Trek-A-Thon Shira sponsor



Moir - 250 feet

Trek-A-Thon Moir Sponsor



Pofu - 500 feet

Trek-A-Thon Pofu Sponsor



Rongai Caves - 1000 feet

Trek-A-Thon Rongai Caves Sponsor



Kikelewa Caves - 1500 feet

Trek-A-Thon Kikelewa Caves Sponsor


2 left

Mawenzi Tarn - 2000 feet

Trek-A-Thon Mawenzi Tarn Sponsorship



Outward Bound - 2500 feet

Trek-A-Thon Outward Bound Sponsorship


1 left

Unuru Summit! - 3001 feet

Trek-A-Thon Unuru Summit Sponsorship


1 left

102 Supporters

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  • Fritz-Rumer-Cooke Co., Inc13 weeks ago Way to go, Nicole! What an awesome accomplishment! Congratulations! The Cooke Family
  • Anonymous13 weeks ago
  • Allison Tupper13 weeks ago Best wishes.
  • Nancy Koenigsberg13 weeks ago Congratulations, Nicole!! You are amazing!!
  • Linda Chin13 weeks ago Nicole, you are simply AMAZING. Congratulations on conquering Mt. Kilimanjaro for Hartley House. I am so proud of you and I continue to be inspired by you. Again, you are simply amazing. Can’t wait to see you when you are back in Manhattan. Travel safe!
  • Maria Chachere13 weeks ago Way to Go Nicole!!!
  • Catherine Mathis & Bob Burchell13 weeks ago Go Nicole! xoxox, Catherine & Bob
  • Janice13 weeks ago You go girl! Can't wait to hear all about it.
  • Tommy Moore Sr13 weeks ago Congrats Lady
  • Debra Reiser13 weeks ago Best wishes.You are an inspiration! Debra Reiser
  • Show 92 more supporters