Right about now, Craig Henley is making the final preparations to take his first steps up Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America.
Henley, a Springfield resident who is vice president of sales with Ozark insurance agency OneSource Insurance Group LLC, is attempting to conquer the Seven Summits, the highest points on each of the seven continents.
He scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa in February 2019 and made it to the 19,341-foot summit. Over the next three weeks, he’ll be climbing even higher when he takes on the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere. Aconcagua, located in western Argentina in the Andes, is 22,841 feet tall. By comparison, for locals who have traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado, Pikes Peak is 14,115 feet tall – less than two-thirds the size of Aconcagua.
Henley said he is climbing Aconcagua not only to test his mental and physical limits, but also to raise funds for Man Up and Go, a nonprofit devoted to helping fatherless children in the United States and throughout the world.
On the Man Up and Go website, Henley, a member of Immaculate Conception Church in Springfield, explains why he climbs by saying each step draws him closer to God.
“Until you have been on a mountain yourself, it’s hard to understand,” he writes. “But it is a feeling I have longed to again experience since leaving Kilimanjaro.”
Henley refers to himself as Mr. Insurance, and his OneSource bio explains, “I strive to be an expert in the insurance industry and want Mr. Insurance to be synonymous with credibility and trust.” He was a 2019 Springfield Business Journal Trusted Advisers honoree.
With the help of Matthew Henderson of Henderson Media LLC, Henley is providing updates of his climb on his Facebook page. Henderson said Henley has a device that Henderson can use to track him on the mountain in real time.
“Starting tomorrow, he won’t be able to message me much, but he’ll have this device, and I’ll let people know where he is on the mountain, what altitude he’s at, what base camp he’s at, that kind of thing,” Henderson said. “Hopefully, the excitement of him traveling up this mountain with daily updates will get more attention to the charity.”
Henley’s goal is to raise $15,000 through sponsorships of his climb. Henderson said Henley is currently at $12,500. Henley pays his own travel expenses, Henderson said, because the charity is so important to him.
“He’s trained five to six days a week nonstop for this trip, just trying to get physically capable of doing it,” Henderson said.
Henley found Kilimanjaro brutally difficult, according to Henderson.
“He’d been training for that trip as well, but he trained even better for this one,” Henderson said.
Henderson said Henley does not intend to stop at Aconcagua.
“If this one goes well, he’ll do another one,” Henderson said. “He’s a neat guy. He’s got a lot of enthusiasm and positivity.”
Read the profiles of this year's honorees.