Showing posts with label Kilimanjaro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kilimanjaro. Show all posts

Want to Take Part in A Groundbreaking Study on Kilimanjaro This Year?

Kilimanjaro is one of the most alluring challenges for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers from around the globe. Each year, thousands flock to its slopes in an effort to reach its lofty summit – the highest in Africa at 5895 meters (19,341 ft). But, many of those climbers never make it to the top, and some even experience serious health issues along the way. There are even a surprisingly high number of deaths not he mountain each and every year, usually due to complications with altitude.

This year, a the University Hospital of Gießen and Marburg in Germany is conducting a study of how our bodies react to altitude in an effort to learn about how to threat this suffering from altitude sickness. To do that, researchers are looking for 25 people to participate in a study that will take place on Kilimanjaro this September. But, the study isn't looking for just your average trekker. Instead, they would like to find mountain bikers or mountain runners who are willing to join them on the mountain and consent to being tested throughout the climb.

The Kilimanjaro Summit Challenge will take place from September 24 through October 1, and will begin with a three-day training camp prior to the start of the climb. This will allow participants to acclimatize to the altitude and for the researchers to study how the altitude is impacting their bodies.

Rainer Braehler, who is organizing the event, tells adventure sports journalist Stefan Nestler "Up to now, pursing sport seriously on a mountain like Kilimanjaro was a dream limited to just a few elite athletes,but with this study, ambitious amateur athletes can now test their limits at very high altitudes – with the reassurance of full medical supervision.”

If you think you'd be interested in joining the study, you can find all of the information you need, including price, dates, and full agenda, and how to apply by clicking here. Not only will you be going on an adventure of a lifetime, you'll also be helping science find ways to help us be more efficient at altitude. 

Cloud Walkers - A Documentary About Amputees Climbing Kilimanjaro – Seeks Funding

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is a bucket-list adventure for many people, and for good reason. The tallest mountain in Africa is both approachable and a great challenge, with many rewards along the way.

Recently, a team of climbers made up of amputees from San Antonio, Texas went to the mountain to try to scale it for themselves. Over the course of a year of training, and during their time on the mountain, they bonded as a group and found strength and inspiration from each other. The team made the trek to the Roof of Africa together and now their story is the subject of a new documentary called Cloud Walkers, which was filmed throughout their extraordinary journey.

But, if you know anything about filmmaking, you probably also know it takes funds to get a project off the ground and get the final product in the can so to speak. So, with that in mind, the filmmakers behind Cloud Walkers have launched an Indiegogo campaign to help make their project a reality. They hope to raise $50,000, which will mostly go to final editing, sound mixing, music licensing, and other expenses.

To get a sneak peek at what this documentary is all about, check out the video below. It gives us a taste of what this journey was about, as well as some of the amazing views and stories that were experienced along the way. To find out more, and contribute to the cause, visit the Cloud Walker's crowdfunding page.

Video: Climbing Kilimanjaro with a Drone

Want to get a great look at what it is like to climb Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak? Take a look at this video, which comes our way courtesy of Madison Mountaineering. It follows a group of trekkers as they go up the mountain, capturing some outstanding footage with a drone as they go. The group took the Machame Route, which is one of the most popular paths to the summit, and along the way they had some amazing views of the mountain and the surrounding landscape.

19 Facts About Mt. Kilimanjaro - The Highest Peak in Africa

As the tallest peak in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro always draws a lot of attention from trekkers and climbers alike. Many travel to Tanzania to nab one of the Seven Summits, while others are lured by the challenge that comes along with hiking to the iconic "Roof of Africa." But no matter what reason you have for going, it is truly an adventure of a lifetime, and one that will leave a lasting impression for sure.

With that in mind, a blog called Altitude Treks has posted an article listing 19 Kilimanjaro Facts that offers some interesting insights into the mountain. Whether you've been there in the past, are planning in the future, or just want to know more about this amazing place, you're likely to learn something that you didn't know before about Kili. 

I've to the mountain twice, and have written about it many times, and I still learned a few things from the story. For instance, the article goes into detail about the various climate zones you'll pass through on the way to the summit, which total five in all. It also offers insights into the history of the mountain, including some of the earliest attempts to climb it. You'll also learn about the East African Mountain Club, which led early expeditions to the summit, and find out who the oldest and youngest summiteers are. You'll discover how the mountain got its name, why certain areas on its slopes have their own monikers, and even gain insights into the death rate on the mountain. According to the story, about 5-15 people die on Kili each year, with 2-3 of them being visitors and the rest porters. That number is relatively small when you consider thousands attempt the climb in any given year, with about 60% of those making it to the summit.

If you're a previous Kili climber or have a trek to the mountain on your bucket list, you'll want to give this article a look. It is fairly long, but a very interesting read for those of us who love this mountain. You can check it out by clicking here

And thanks to Clare Groom for sharing the story. 


Video: Climbing Kilimanjaro's Machame Route

Ever wanted to climb Kilimanjaro and didn't know what to expect? Perhaps you've already been there and done that, but are feeling a bit nostalgic for the mountain? This video can help in either case. it is a 4.5 minute clip that takes viewers up the Machame Route, one of the more popular ways of reaching the summit. Along the way, you'll get a good sense of the trail and the obstacles faced along the path, while taking in some of the amazing views that Kili provides.

Over the past few years, the number of bookings to climb Kilimanjaro has actually decreased in no small part thanks to unfounded fears following the ebola outbreak in West Africa. Because of this, you can currently visit the mountain and experience smaller crowds. That isn't expected to last forever, so if you've ever wanted to go to the Roof of Africa, now just might be the time. Of course, I'd recommend making that climb with my friends at Tusker Trail. There simply isn't anyone one operating on the mountain that does it better.

Nat Geo Gives Us 10 Iconic Trails that are at Risk

If you're like me, hiking and backpacking are amongst your favorite pursuits. But, did you realize that some of the most iconic trails in the world are facing some major challenges. Between environmental issues, political infighting, encroaching commercial entities, natural disaster, and even war, these routes could potentially be altered or closed forever. To highlight these challenges, National Geographic has put together a list of 10 of the best trails that are currently at risk.

Most of the trails that earned a spot on this dubious countdown are ones that you've heard before. Each entry comes with an explanation of what is exactly at risk, and what the threat to the trail actually is. For instance, the first entry on the list is Arch Trail in Utah, which faces a number of threats that included ATV usage and the potential for public lands to be transferred to the public sector. The trail happens to be home to archaeological sites for former Native American villages, and it is seen as a treasure trove of knowledge on how those tribes lived in the distant past. Just how endangered the trail truly is is spelled out in the accompany paragraphs, with a final prognosis on its future too.

Some of the other trails that make the list include Stairway to Heaven in Hawaii (erosion, budget shortfalls), Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon (commercial development), and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (climate change). I'll leave the rest of the list for you to discover on your own, but rest assured that each of the hiking routes are spectacular, and each is facing an uncertain future.

They say that the first step towards solving a problem such as the threats that are facing these trails, is to raise awareness of the situation. That's exactly what this article from Nat Geo is doing. By getting the word out to those of us who actually care about such issues, perhaps it isn't too late to save some of these natural wonders before they are lost to us all. Climate change is a difficult problem to solve on our own of course, but preventing over development of the lands and protecting the trails from misuse are all things that we can help prevent now. Maybe that will ensure that future generations will be able to hike these same routes too.

Video: Wings of Kilimanjaro 2016 Expedition

Next week, 29 climbers will set out for the "Roof of Africa" as part of the Wings of Kilimanjaro initiative. The team, which is being led by my friends over at Tusker Trail, will attempt to trek to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa, where they will then paraglide off the mountain. But the group isn't there just to have an amazing adventure. They'll also be raising funds to support a number of projects that are improving the lives of people living in Tanzania. Those projects include installing pumps to deliver clean water, teaching local farmers to grow crops in a sustainable fashion, and improving the education of the children that live there. In the video below, you'll learn a bit more about the program, but you'll also see some amazing shots of their previous climbs up Kili, and the epic flights they've taken from the summit. It looks like a great way to see an already impressive mountain, and its all for a good cause.


Adventure Travel Briefs: A Cruise Ship in the Northwest Passage and Is Adventure Travel Endangered?

There have been a number of interesting stories to come out of the adventure travel industry lately, not all of which are worth their own post, but together they make an interesting story to share with readers. For those of you out there who enjoy pursing some adventures of their own, here are a couple of things to have on your radar.

Luxury Cruise Ship Sails the Northwest Passage
In recent years, climate change has allowed the famed Northwest Passage – an area of open sea in the Arctic Ocean above Canada – to become far less treacherous and more navigable by boat. In the past, the ice would either stay locked in place even during the summer months, or the route would remain dangerous due to large ice bergs choking the path. That isn't the case any longer, and for several months each year it is possible to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific via the Arctic.

Now, a luxury cruise ship by the name of Serenity has embarked on a 32-day journey across the entire passage. The ship set sail from Seward, Alaska last week, and is now making its way towards New York City. While small ships have made their way along the legendary route in recent years, this is the first time a large ship has done so. The Serenity can carry more than 1700 people.

Hopefully the cruise goes off without any major issues. The Canadian Coast Guard estimates its response time to an emergency at 11 hours. That's a long time should anything go wrong. Fingers crossed this doesn't become a major trend either, as the Arctic Ocean is still a very fragile ecosystem.


Richard Bangs Takes Us to Madagascar
Mysterious and enchanting, Madagascar is high on my places to visit that I haven't been lucky enough to get to just yet. I'm even more intrigued after reading Richard Bangs' recent article for The Huffington Post, in which he delves into the history, culture, and people that live on the island country just off the coast of Africa.

In the incredibly well written piece, Bangs paints an impressive picture of the place, which is at a crossroads environmentally, and yet is still a fascinating ecological preserve filled with creatures that aren't found anywhere else on Earth. Amongst those creatures are Madagascar's famous lemurs, which are held in high regard by the locals and it is strictly forbidden to kill. But in his travel through the land, Richard goes in search of a rumored restaurant that allegedly serves lemur on the menu. Does he find it? And what other wonders does he discover there? Read on to find out.

Is Adventure Travel an Endangered Species?
Our final adventure travel story come from the blog at Tusker Trail. The article was written awhile back, but still asks an intriguing question – Is adventure travel an endangered species? In the article, the author indicates that fear and a desire for safety and security are causing many travelers to abandon their hopes of living an adventurous life, with many now playing it safe and sticking close to home.

With terrorist attacks taking place all over Europe, strange diseases like Ebola and Zika, striking Africa and South America, and other potential threats making headlines, it is easy to get caught up in the belief that danger is lurking around every corner when you start to wander too far from home. But, in reality, we all know that isn't the case, and that these are mostly isolated incidences that are far from the norm.

Yes, travelers do accept that there is always the potential for danger when setting out on an adventurous excursion. But, isn't that a part of adventure travel? As the Tusker article says, adventure travel may be compromised, but it is far from dead. There are still plenty of amazing places to go, things to do, and sites to see. As the author says, study your destination thoroughly, do your homework ahead of time, and know what you're getting yourself into. Chances are, you'll be better prepared to deal with situations as they arise, and probably avoid danger altogether. At the very lest, don't let fear keep you from traveling the world and seeking out adventure.

Something I agree with wholeheartedly.

Swiss Climber Sets New Slackline Record on Kilimanjaro

This past weekend, Swiss alpinist Stephan Siegrist set a new record for the world's highest slackline by walking across a highline that had been set up at 5700 meters (18,700 ft) on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. His efforts weren't without their challenges however, as gusting winds, low oxygen levels, and even snow conspired to make his walk a difficult one.

The 43-year old Siegrist set up a 21-meter length of line between two rock towers located at the Arrow Glacier Camp on Kili. The rope was set at a height of about 150 meters (492 feet), which left it exposed to the elements, which included a rise in gusting winds as the day went along. The weather forecast even included snow, which doesn't happen often on Kilimanjaro, but is possible when conditions are right just about any time of the year.

While slacklining balance is always a key, but at such high altitudes the body reacts slower to just about any physical challenge. That was the case here as well, as Siegrist found it difficult to make progress, even though he is very experienced at the sport. Eventually he did manage to cross the line successfully however, officially establishing the new record.

Slacklining has continued to grow in popularity in recent years, particularly as more people like Stephen put up impressive results in remote places. The previous record had been set last year in the Ladakh region of India. That mark was established by Hungarian climber Bence Kerekes who walked a line at about 5300 meters (17,388 ft). These records are most unofficial of course, as there is no real governing body to that oversees the claims.

While I'm not much of a slackliner myself, I can't help but be impressed by these attempts. One only needs to look at the image above to get a sense of great the view was where Siegrist was walking. I suspect we'll only continue to see these daredevils push the sport to new heights, both literally and figuratively. I'm sure someone is already planning such an attempt in the Himalaya.

Congrats to Stephen on his new record.

Mountain Biking to the Summit of Kilimanjaro

In February of this year, mountain bikers Rebecca Rusch and Patrick Sweeney set off on an epic ride to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. They spent six days riding up – and down – the mountain, which is the tallest in Africa at 19,341 feet (5895 meters) in height. They rode that challenging route to raise funds for World Cycling Relief, a nonprofit that seeks to provide bicycles for people living in developing countries. The Kilimanjaro ride managed to raise nearly $20,000 for the cause, which allowed the organization to purchase 131 new bikes.

Now, several months after cycling to the roof of Africa, Rusch was interviewed about the experience by the team at Gear Junkie. In the article she talks about how they got organized for the expedition, why they chose Kilimanjaro, and what it was like on the trail. Rebecca, who is an experienced endurance and adventure sport athlete, called it the hardest ride she has ever done, which should give you an indication of how challenging this undertaking was for her and Patrick. She also shares some insight into what the trail was like, and the gear that she used along the way too.

For an even better look at this amazing mountain bike ride, check out the video below. It is a 7-minute short documentary on the endeavor that will provide even more insights into the ride. Having climbed this mountain myself, I can tell you that it wouldn't be easy to go up or down it on a bike.


Video: A Journey to the Roof of Africa - Kilimanjaro

For many adventure travelers a climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro is the ultimate dream trip, and one that I've made myself. In this video we join two Egyptian friends who set out to Tanzania to trek to the "Roof of Africa" themselves. The short documentary takes you from Kilimanjaro airport to the summit of the mountain and beyond. If this trip is in your future, you'll definitely want to watch.

Video: Tusker Trail's 2015 Kilimanjaro Climb for Valor

Last year I was fortunate enough to join a team of extraordinary men and women to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa as part of Tusker Trail's Climb for Valor – a charity climb designed to raise funds for Duskin & Stephens Foundation. While we were on the mountain, my friend Edan Cain captured some outstanding footage using a drone. In this video, you get 10+ minutes of the footage he shot, giving you an idea of what it is like to trek this iconic mountain. And if you feel inspired to want to do this for yourself, there is still time to join the 2016 edition of the Climb for Valor. Find out more here.

Climb for Valor 2015 from Edan Cain on Vimeo.

Join Tusker Trail's Climb For Valor - Summit Kilimanjaro This Spring


One of the most compelling experiences for any adventure traveler is a climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. Standing 19,341 feet (5895 meters), Kili is the tallest mountain on that continent, and while it is a non-technical climb, the trek is a significant challenge nonetheless. Still, it is within the reach of just about anyone who is in reasonably good physical condition, and has the determination to get to the top.

Last February I was fortunate enough to make that journey myself, traveling with the amazing guides, porters, and support staff of Tusker Trail, which is – for my money – the best outfitter operating on the mountain. Every aspect of a Tusker climb is top notch, including the incredibly knowledgeable guides, excellent cooks that have been trained by the Culinary Institute of America, and the tents and other gear that are used along the way. In fact, I've never seen a company take such good care of its clients, conducting twice-daily medical checks to ensure they are healthy, strong, and capable of continuing the climb.

To say that I came aways impressed with Tusker's operation would be a vast understatement, and it was clear that they put a lot of effort into making each trek special for the travelers. But, I wasn't on just any Tusker trek. I went to Kilimanjaro to take part in the inaugural Climb for Valor, a special fundraising expedition that was conducted in support of Duskin and Stephens Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the families of fallen U.S. Special Operations Soldiers. On last year's Valor Climb, Tusker raised more than $50,000 for the organization, with all the proceeds from the trek going to that great cause.

The first Climb For Valor was such a success that the Tusker team is doing it again, and this time you can come along. Not only will you get the chance to climb Kilimanjaro with the best outfitter there, you'll be doing so for a good cause as well.

The 2016 edition of the climb will take place April 24 - May 4, and will cost participants $4990. Additionally, the goal is to raise another $50,000 for the Duskin and Stephens Foundation, so participants in this very special climb are also requested to help raise funds to meet that goal.

When you join this trek, you'll also be joining two U.S. soldiers who were wounded in the line of duty. Those two men will be a part of the team, and you'll get to hear their stories first hand throughout the journey. I can tell you from firsthand knowledge that it is a very moving and inspirational part of the experience.

The Climb For Valor already has a number of participants joining the team, but there are still several slots available for those who are interested in climbing the tallest mountain in Africa, and helping families of fallen soldiers along the way. For more information, visit the Tusker Trail website.

Video: Climbing Kilimanjaro with 12-Year Old Lilliana Libecki

Today's dose of inspiration comes our way courtesy of Goal Zero and 12-year old Lilliana Libecki, daughter of professional climber Mike Libecki. In this video, the father-daughter team travels to Africa – Lilli's seventh continent – to climb Kilimanjaro together. Afterwards, they also lend a hand to a local orphanage, helping to install solar panels and lights to improve the conditions there. The entire project was Lilli's idea, from climbing the mountain to assisting at the orphanage, proving once again what we can accomplish when we set out minds to something. The 6+ minute video also provides some excellent shots of Kili itself, and shows prospective climbers what it is like to go up that iconic peak.

The 2015 Kilimanjaro Stage Run is Underway in Tanzania


Some people travel to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro, others go to run around it. 

The 2015 edition of the Kilimanjaro Stage Run is underway in Tanzania today, as trail runners from across the globe arrived there this weekend, and have now set out on a unique endurance event that takes place annually in the shadow of Africa's highest mountain. 

The 10-day trip includes 8 days on the trail, during which time the runners travel on foot, completely circumnavigating Kili's base. Today, they'll cover 31 km (19.2 miles) over rough terrain, while also gaining 1798 meters (5898 ft) of elevation in the process. The following week will mark similar distances, and rises and falls in elevation as well. In all, they'll run 260 km (161 miles) over the course of the event as they make their way completely around the mountain. 

The Kilimanjaro Stage Run is the brainchild of Tanzanian distance runner Simon Mtuy. It is now in its fourth year, and plan are already in place for it to take place once again in 2016. Simon has designed the route to showcase the mountain, as it also passes through numerous villages of the Chagga people, which have lived on the slopes of Kili for generations. 

You can follow along with the event on Facebook and Twitter. The team will be posting updates on their adventure over the course of the next week, sharing their experiences from the trail. It should be quite the excursion for these runners to say the least. 

While climbing Kilimanjaro is one of the best experiences I've ever had, this looks like it would be a great alternative for those who don't want to take on the altitude of going to the summit. Running 260 km through the African landscape would be an amazing challenge, and it is accessible to just about anyone who is is reasonably good shape. This run is on my bucket list for the future. I'd love to work it into my schedule at some point. 

Find out more at TanzaniaTrailRunning.com

Video: Kilimanjaro Revealed - Been There

I may be on my way to Jackson Hole for the Outdoor Blogger Summit and SHIFT Festival today, but I wanted to share the final Kilimanjaro video from Tusker Trail. This clip gives you an overview of the whole climb, while revealing how the mountain stays with you long after you have left. Kili is a special place, and a true adventure destination. Once you've stood on its summit, you'll feel a kinship with the place, and those who have climbed it, that lasts forever. Take from me, I've been there twice, and have strong connection with the mountain that is hard to explain.

If you've missed any of the Tusker videos, you can view them all on the Kilimanjaro Revealed Vimeo page. All are worth a look!

Kilimanjaro - Been There from Tusker on Vimeo.

Video: Kilimanjaro Revealed - The Summit

The next installment of Tusker Trail's excellent seven-part video series on Kilimanjaro takes us to the summit of that mountain – the tallest in Africa. As you'll see in the clip, the summit provides awesome views of the surrounding countryside, but it is anything but a sure bet that you'll reach the top. While the climb is not a technical one, it is still very challenging due to the high altitude. A surprisingly high number of trekkers don't make it, even ones that are in excellent shape and have experience at altitude. The route that is taken has a lot to do with that success rate, and Tusker's clients have a better chance of summiting than most others. If you've ever dreamed of climbing Kili, this video will help you to understand the challenges.

Kilimanjaro - The Summit from Tusker on Vimeo.

Video: Kilimanjaro Revealed - The Journey

We continue our video journey up Mt. Kilimanjaro today with the amazing team from Tusker Trail. This is the next clip in a series of videos the company has produced to help introduce the mountain to those who may want to trek to its snowcapped peak. In this video we get a sense of what it is like to be hiking on Kilimanjaro, and catch a glimpse of the five different climate zones you pass through on the way to the top. Part of the challenge of a Kili climb is dealing with each of those environments along the way, as well as the thinning air from the increased altitude.

Kilimanjaro - The Journey from Tusker on Vimeo.

Video: Kilimanjaro Revealed - The Challenge

We continue our 7-part video series on Kilimanjaro from Tusker Trail today with a look at the challenges climbers face when going up the mountain. Kill is not a technical climb at all, but its high altitude (5895 m/19,341 ft) still makes it a true challenge for sure. This video shows what it is like to ascend the tallest peak in Africa with scenes of numerous climbers heading up. Eagle-eyed viewers might even catch a glimpse of yours truly approaching the summit at one point. 

Video: Kilimanjaro Revealed - The Highest Solitary Peak

We continue our seven-part video series from Tusker Trail on climbing Kilimanjaro today by taking a look at the mountain itself, and the beginning of the trek to its summit. At 5895 meters (19,341 ft) in height, Kili is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. That makes for quite an imposing sight when you're approaching it from the African plains. This clip, narrated by Nat Geo's Will Lyman, serves as an intro to the climb, and what trekkers can expect on their way up.

Kilimanjaro - The Highest Solitary Peak from Tusker on Vimeo.