Three JMBM Pros Reach the Pinnacle (of Kilimanjaro)

Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) professionals are scaling more than legal heights these days. Land use Partner Sheri Bonstelle, intellectual property litigation Partner Rachel Capoccia, and IT Project Manager Maurice Oketch conquered Mount Kilimanjaro – known as the “Roof of Africa” – in February, reaching Uhuru Peak at 19,341 feet after a 6 1/2-day uphill trek.

The three spent 8 months conditioning before the trip hiking peaks in Southern California, including Mt. Baldy and Muir Peak.

Capoccia, Oketch and Bonstelle at the peak of Kilimanjaro.

Capoccia, Oketch and Bonstelle at the peak of Kilimanjaro.

“As an IP litigator, I’ve navigated difficult terrain before. But reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro after hiking uphill through glaciers in Africa is a different kind of exhilaration altogether,” said Capoccia. “I’m very fortunate to have experienced both.”

“The people, the landscape, the walk up the mountain with good friends – it was magical,” said Bonstelle, a licensed architect and accomplished land use attorney. “Not easy, but absolutely magnificent in every way.”

What’s next for the adventurous travelers? “My next trip is in the opposite direction – scuba diving in the Philippines.” said Capoccia. “But I’m definitely planning more high-altitude hiking in the future.” Bonstelle is hoping her next trip will be trekking in Nepal to Everest Base Camp.

Oketch grew up in Kenya and has organized numerous wildlife safaris and other trips to Africa, returning to the continent twice a year. While he has been to Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro National Park a number of times, this was his first trek up Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.

He looks forward to climbing Kilimanjaro again. “An extreme altitude trek is a great life lesson,” he said. “It seems you’re moving ever so slowly, but by taking one step at a time, you reach your goal.”

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