Climbing Kilimanjaro is proud to have been part of some very special moments on Mt Kilimanjaro.
World Record for Kilimanjaro Wheelchair Climb Smashed!
On Monday, 15th October 2007 at around 4pm Bern Goosen of South Africa reached the summit of Kilimanjaro - and in doing so, smashed his own record for the fastest ascent of the mountain in a wheelchair.
Bern - who has now reached Uhuru Peak, the summit of Kilimanjaro, twice, and remains the only man to conquer the mountain in a wheelchair - used the Rongai Route for his record attempt. Bern covered a total distance of approximately 27.1km and gained 3885m in altitude from the Rongai Gate (2010m), near the border with Kenya, to the Uhuru Peak (5895m) summit - the highest point on the African continent.
Beginning at 12.40pm on the 9th October, he reached the summit at 4pm on the 15th, thus taking 6 days, 3 hours and 20 minutes in total. Beating his previous record of 9 days, set in 2003.
In total there were 46 members that took part in the climb, including a 33-strong expedition crew who was organized by the highly respected Climbing Kilimanjaro outfit and led by two of the most experienced guides currently working on the mountain, Freddie Achedo (Tanzanian guide of the Millennium) and Deodatus Na'alli. Amongst the other trekkers was Neil Stephenson, who lost his leg in a shark attack in his native South Africa a few years previously. Stephenson also made it to the summit.
Bern, 28, has been disabled since birth as a result of cerebral palsy, and is classified as quadriplegic. He already reached the summit once before, but the climb was not recognized as a record by the official bodies because they could not verify Bern's conforming to their strict record attempt rules. In particular, the guidelines for wheelchair record attempts, stipulates that the person can be helped over obstacles for no more than 10% of the entire climb. Thankfully, despite requiring help over the rocks near the Second Cave on the Rongai Route, and again at the crater rim at Gilman's Point, Goosen covered virtually all of the rest of the climb by himself, and well within the 10% maximum stipulated by the authorities.
Such an extraordinary effort on the part of Bern was not without its cost, however, for having spent the night following the summit at Hans Meyer Cave, on the slopes of Kibo, he arrived back at 11.50am (16th October) at Marangu Gate, from where he was immediately evacuated to hospital, where he was on a drip suffering from exhaustion. He is, however, now fine and made a full recovery at home.
It only remains for us to congratulate Bern (and everyone else associated with the record breaking attempt) on this superhuman achievement!
Courtesy Henry Steadman author of Kilimanjaro guidebook.
Well done Bern... you've conquered Kili!
Bernard Goosen successfully conquered the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro @ 12:00am (Tanzanian time) on 13 October 2003 IN A WHEELCHAIR!!
A word from BERN before he left...
"To everybody who contributed - I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generous support of my dreams to become the first wheel chair bound person to "climb" to the "Roof of Africa". Physically I believe that I am ready and this final week will be dedicated to the final mental preparation".
As far as we know the highest point to be reached by wheelchair is 16500ft (5000m), which means that Bern has topped this by more than 800m!!
Trip feedback on Monday 13 October 2003 (Day 9)
Bern, Rodney and Chester had a bad night. Cold and the start of altitude sickness kept them all awake and they only managed 2 hours sleep before setting off at 4h00 on their ascent to Gillman's point (5680 m). They called in at about 10h30 this morning when they reached Gillman's. Bern said that he wasn't feeling so strong but that there was only 200m to go, to get to the summit - Uhuru so he and his team are going to push through today instead of camping another night in the freezing conditions.
It will take them about 4 hours from Gillman's to Uhuru - a distance of 2000m so.......... we were eagerly awaiting news from Bern to say that he is "standing" at the highest point in Africa.
Well at 12h00 (Tanzanian Time) - we have just heard that Bern has made it - HE IS SITTING ON UHURU PEAK - he has made the summit.
Not feeling too strong and suffering from an incredible headache, Bern did not stay too long before heading down to seek some relief from the symptoms of low oxygen intake.
We spoke to him when he arrived back at Gillman's; he was ecstatic (in fact I don't know how to explain just how excited he sounded even though he was out of breath).
It was a tough trip and he did mention what a relief it was going to be when they reached a lower altitude with warmer weather. On the summit, they measured the temperature to be -16º with the wind chill factor (this was at about 11h00).
This seems to have been an incredible climb as they had planned that it would take them 11 days to summit but in fact took him only 9.
Their plans now were to reach sleep at Kibo on Monday night, Horombo Tuesday, Mandara on Wednesday night and to be back at the hotel on Thursday night for a good bath etc.
(Feedback from Bern's sister Debbie)
THE CLIMBING KILIMANJARO TEAM CONGRATULATES YOU FOR THE AMAZING ACHIEVEMENT. WELL-DONE BERN!!!!!
Artumas fundraiser climb for Lindi school
Canadian company Artumas Group climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to raise US$200,000 for the construction of a secondary school in Lindi. Read the newspaper clipping.
Man with one leg summits Mt Kilimanjaro twice
Australia's Gordon Watters reached Mt Kilimanjaro's summit twice.
Gordon Watters, a 53 year old Australian, summated Uhuru peak at 5 895m, twice! He stood on the roof top of Africa on the 31st of March and 1st of April 2007!
It was a honor for our team, to lead the expedition for Mr. Watters and co-hikers, earlier during 2007. Mr. Watters does not have a sophisticated robotic leg, but he is active (and also an expert skier) with a positive outlook on life. He did not want any special treatment from our team and summated Uhuru peak twice - without aid!
Unfortunately he lost his leg in a mountaineering accident in Scotland years ago.
We salute you Gordon.
Lettie Msiza climbs Kilimanjaro
This 51-year-old employee of Climbing Kilimanjaro (South Africa) started her climb up Kilimanjaro on the 5th of October 2003.
Lettie grew up on a farm in the Mpumalanga region of South Africa, coming from a underprivileged family who could not afford to pay for her to receive any education.
Before the climb Lettie had been a domestic worker for 18 years, and raised six children on her own. Her husband passed away from an asthma attack, leaving her widowed.
Since 1995 Lettie kept the office of Climbing Kilimanjaro clean, washed returning clients' Kilimanjaro climb gear and made coffee to keep us going.
Lettie witnessed all the changes and the growth of our company, saw our clients coming and going and heard all their stories. She continuously asked us to tell her about the trips up Kilimanjaro and then started to make jokes about the day she's going to climb. Well, we decided to make her dream come true. Lettie, who only speaks Afrikaans and her local tribal language, climbed Kilimanjaro with Trudie Lewis, who took care of her and guided her up Kilimanjaro.