Remember those crazy trekkers that I told you about a few weeks back who wanted to go up Kilimanjaro barefooted? Last weekend they actually accomplished their goal, standing on the summit of the 5895 meter (19,340 ft) peak, without any kind of protection on their feet. On the way to the top, they braved cold temperatures, plenty of snow, and lots of sharp, loose rocks, and yet they still managed to make it without shoes.
The team actually topped out on Saturday, although it wasn’t easy. When they set out from the Kibo Huts that morning, the temperature was below zero (presumably Celsius) and they still had to traverse plenty of loose scree. It took them about 4.5 hours to reach Gilman’s Point, and along the way they encountered several climbers who had turned back from the summit, and were clearly suffering from altitude sickness. That was a sobering experience for the entire crew, but they continued on to the top none the less.
As they approached the summit they faced plenty of snow as well. More than two feet has fallen just a few days earlier, and walking the final few hundred feet without shoes, in snow, was yet one more challenge to overcome. But in the end, they stood on top, which is pretty amazing to me. I can barely walk across smooth pavement without shoes on.
You can read more about their experience on their website – barefootimpi.org – which includes their reports from the field and photos from the climb. Remember, they undertook this journey to raise funds for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa as well, so it was once again an adventure for a good cause.
Congrats to the whole team on a job well done.
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