The father-and-son team of Ken and Jeff Christianson of Burlington climbed 19,340-foot Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania last May. By coincidence rather than plan, Jeff says, “we summited on my dad’s 49th birthday— May 14.”
The pair spent six nights on the mountain getting acclimated, then completed the climb in six days.
“It was more like a high-altitude trek, nothing technical,” Jeff says. They also climbed the third-highest peak on Mount Kenya, 16,355-foot Point Lenana.
During two years of climbing, Jeff has topped Mount Rainier (14,411 feet) twice—in 2000, when he also scaled Mount Baker and Mount Adams, and again last summer.
“We live in the North Cascades, so it’s kind of hard to avoid them [mountains]” says Jeff. His dad accompanied him on the latest ascent of Rainier.
A senior in construction management at Washington State University, Jeff is president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. His brother, Jay, is a sophomore at WSU and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. During his own student days, Ken (’74 Agron.) was president of SPE.
Today Ken is president of the Alf Christianson Seed Co., founded by his great-grandfather in 1926. The company grows vegetable seed for spinach, cabbage, and carrots. He has been supportive of WSU research and extension for years. In 1995, he teamed with his mother, Lucille, and brother, Mark, to establish the Alfred Christianson Distinguished Professorship in Vegetable Seed Science.