Adventurers Set To Take On Kilimanjaro – Barefoot!

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Next week, a team of five adventurers will set out to climb Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa, without wearing shoes. The group, which will be joined by a support crew of five as well, are part of an organization called Barefoot Impi, which strives to accomplish a number of outdoor challenges, while helping to raise funds for charity as well. In this case, their chosen beneficiary is the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Kilimanjaro Challenge, as the team is calling it, will see the climbers covering approximately 65km (40 miles) up the tallest free standing mountain in the world. They’ve created strict rules for themselves regarding what it means to be going barefoot, and in a nutshell, that means they hike all day, everyday, for a preset distance, without wearing shoes or any other kind of artificial or natural substances on their feet.

In addition to the rocky, and often steep, trails the climbers will also have to deal with altitude and cold temperatures on Kili. The mountain stands 5894 meters (19,340 ft) in height, so needless to say, the thin air can be a problem for some people. Additionally, temperatures at the summit can be quite cold, and depending on weather conditions, they could easily be walking in conditions that are below freezing. That will come near the end of the expedition of course, after several days of barefoot hiking on less than ideal routes.

Having trekked Kili myself in the past, I can honestly say that there is no way I could even imagine undertaking this climb. The volcanic rock that is strewn about the area is rough, hard, and offers plenty of sharp edges. This will not be a walk in the park (pun fully intended!) and I can’t even imagine what their feet are going to look like when they’re done.

Still, its a great cause and a unique approach to climbing a mountain that has been scaled hundreds of thousands of times. I wish them all luck in the journey and hope they get up and down safe. You can follow their progress, starting next week, at

Old Mutual Barefoot Kili Expedition Promo from D4 Productions on Vimeo.

Kraig Becker

7 thoughts on “Adventurers Set To Take On Kilimanjaro – Barefoot!”

  1. I love running around in my barefeet, so that sounds like fun, but also extremely painful! I wish them the best. Thanks for posting

  2. Isn't that sort of foolish, wouldn't it be an easy invitation to frostbite on your toesies? Regardless, I commend them. I'd just carry a pair of warm fuzzy socks and cheat when no one's looking.

  3. I saw your comment at ExplorersWeb about the kite surfing debate.

    As in any honor-code sport, fraud is pervasive. Many/most of the "records" reported by Explorers Web are either partially fraudulent or wholly so. The explorers, adventurers, solo record claimers, alpine speed record claimers are some of the lowest dignity people you'll ever find. They exploit the honor code to abuse history, abuse the media, profit, obtain great reputation, etct.

  4. 1. Whenever you announce someone is doing something "for a cause", you definitely should follow up and post exactly how much money was donated. If you won't do that, I don't think you should rehash their PR.

    2. Instead of barefoot, maybe a 3-legged sack race would generate more of the publicity they apparently crave.

  5. Love these guys. Barefoot to the roof of Africa! Having an adventure & doing good. Maybe they make it, maybe they don't.

    Read their site posts & they seem organised, aware of the cold issues & sane. Guess there'll always be the armchair detractors…

  6. Got to be honest, but this strikes me as a desperate attempt at getting their name in the press. You don't have to take your shoes off in order to raise money for a good cause – it strikes me as just a bit foolish.

    Maybe next year I'll try to be the first to climb Kilimanjaro backwards and wearing flippers.

  7. Hats (and shoes) off to you guys! Have climbed Table Mountain barefoot myself six times now. No going back to shod once you've realised it's completely do-able on this kind of terrain and temperatures.

    Kili and the very real threat of frostbite is another story, though. It will be no mean feat if at least one of the team can make it all the way unshod.

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