News January-March 2009

December climb for South African cancer charity
Posted by Henry at 12:37 pm, March 24th 2009.

In 2007 Candice Devlin from South Africa was diagnosed with having breast cancer. A little over a year later, and having successfully conquered the disease, Candice is now looking to scale Africa’s highest mountain this December in order to raise funds for the Moments in Time project that helps cancer sufferers.

As Candice writes, she was lucky in one sense as at least her medical insurance paid for all the treatment she required. For one reason or another others, of course, don’t have this sort of insurance and have to pay for all these expenses themselves. Which is where Candice’s chosen beneficicary, Moments in Time, come in. Their charitable trust helps cancer sufferers to pay for their oncology treatment and provides other forms of support for those who have fallen victim to cancer.

You can find out more about the Moments in Time project by visiting . While to find out more about Candice’s climb, including details on how to sponsor her, visit

[ADDRESS NO LONGER VALID] where you can find her climbing page.

We do of course wish Candice every success with her climb – after conquering cancer, climbing Kilimanjaro will surely be a doddle! – and will of course let you know how she gets on.

Photographs of Kilimanjaro huts required
Posted by Henry at 2:07 pm, March 21st 2009.

An unusual request this one: one reader, a Phil Davis from Inverness in Scotland, has written in to ask if anyone could supply him with photographs of the accommodation huts on Kilimanjaro back in the 1970s. Apparently, Mr Davis climbed the mountain back then but all his photographs from his climb have gone missing. He is particularly interested in any shots readers might have of Mandara, Kibo and the now defunct Peters Huts. One imagines that Kibo Huts will not have changed that much – certainly the original building is still standing – but if anybody has shots of any of them, please do get in touch with us here and we will forward your details or photos onto Phil. Thanks.

East Africans triumph at this year’s Kilimarathon
Posted by Henry at 7:44 am, March 16th 2009.

As is usual, the annual Kilimanjaro marathon was dominated by the East Africans last week. Kenya’s Johnston Kibet won the top prize of 3 million Tanzanian shillings in 2 hours, 15 minutes, 24 seconds, pipping local boy Patrick Nyangero by just ten seconds, while another Kenyan, Julius Kilimo, was third, just one second further back.

The women’s race was a similarly East African affair, Kenyans Jane Nyambura, Sally Lagat and Leah Kusar filling the top three places.

The half marathon competition was also dominated by East Africans, with Samuel Shauri winning the men’s race in 1 hour, 3 minutes ad 46 seconds, and Kenyan Hellen Mungo winning the women’s race in 1:17.14. The disabled half-marathon was won by Maulid Juma in 1:42.14.

Comic Relief’s Kilimanjaro celebs all safe and sound
Posted by Henry at 8:27 am, March 14th 2009.

As everyone in the UK is no doubt aware – and those outside of the UK won’t care, as they won’t know who these people are – the 9 celebrities who climbed Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief are all back in the UK. Indeed, they’ve even had a reception at Number 10, as a reward fo their efforts.

The 9, who include Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles, a couple of members each from Take That and Girls Aloud, singer Alesha, and TV presenters Fern Cotton, Ben Shepard and Denise Van Outen, all successfully made it to the top, though one or two needed the help of an injection of dexamethasone. Nevertheless, as anybody who’s climbed the mountain before will agree, this was a fantastic achievement and all are to be congratulated.

I was on the mountain myself last week (which is why we’re a bit late with this news) and there seemed to be a lot of sneering from other trekkers about the support team that the celebrities had. Which is a bit of a shame really, because as anybody who has climbed Kili will know, it doesn’t matter how much of a back-up team you have – it’s still a bloody hard mountain to climb; and anyone who successfully does so has my respect, and deserves all the plaudits that come their way.

I believe the documentary on their climb went out last night on British TV. Hopefully it gave a fair balance of what it’s like to climb Africa’s highest mountain – and also provided a massive boost to the fundraising efforts of Comic Relief.

We’re on the mountain again! 
Posted by Henry at 6:18 pm, March 5th 2009.

Just to inform you that we are off on the mountain again from today, 6th March, until the 12th March. For this reason we will not be able to answer your emails until the 13th.

I hope you will bear with us during this time, and we promise to answer all your correspondence as soon as we get a chance. We will also bring you all the latest news from Africa’s greatest Mountain, including the latest reports on the Comic Relief Celebrity climb. (Latest reports: all made it safely to Karanga Campsite. Alesha was the first to fall over, and Gary Barlow is still having trouble with his back.)

Thanks for your patience over the coming seven days.

Enjoy your week,

Henry Stedman and the Climb Mount Kilimanjaro team

The 2009 Kilimarathon
Posted by Henry at 6:54 am, February 26th 2009.
The Kilimanjaro marathon is here once more. This Sunday, 1 March, runners from all over the world will be racing round the 26-mile course in the shadow of Kilimanjaro.

As you may well know, however, the actual marathon is only part of the whole competition, for many of the runners taking part in Sunday’s race will also be taking part in the Kiliman competition. This begins a couple of weeks before when competitors climb Kilimanjaro, before taking part in a round-Kilimanjaro bike race (for safety reasons the climb of Kilimanjaro is the only event that is not actually a race, it of course being unwise to try to climb Africa’s highest mountain as quickly as possible). The person who makages to scale Kilimanjaro, then completes the bike ride and marathon in the fastest time, will be crowned Kiliman 2009!

The marathon itself begins at the stadium in Moshi before heading up to the Kilimanjaro village of Mweka, before turning round and heading down back towards the town. A half marathon has also been organised for those who don’t fancy the whole course.

More details about the event, as well as previous year’s results, can be found at [ADDRESS NO LONGER VALID].

We wish all the competitors the best of luck in what is surely one of the planet’s toughest competitions.

Gary Barlow in back spasm shocker!
Posted by Henry at 6:32 am, February 25th 2009.

One of the celebrities who will be climbing Kilimanjaro for the UK charity day Comic Relief, pop star Gary Barlow of former boy band Take That, has put his back out and may have to withdraw from the trek.

Mr Barlow, who along with eight other British celebrities was due to fly out to Tanzania this Friday, has been seeing a specialist for what has been described as a ‘minor injury’.

A spokesman, however, has said that there is no cause for concern and the singer should be available for the trek after all.

Fire damage on Kilimanjaro – an update
Posted by Henry at 4:43 pm, February 23rd 2009.
Earlier this month I finally managed to see for myself the damage caused by the latest fire to hit Kilimanjaro. The fire, which blazed for a couple of days on the mountain last October, effected a huge swathe of the heath and moorland zone on the Marangu Route, beginning soon after you leave the forest and continuing until about two thirds of the way to the Horombo Huts. As a result, a large portion of the second day’s walking on this route is now conducted along a trail

Nobody is quite sure how the blaze started, though the usual suspects have been identified: honey collectors (who smoke out the bees from their hives in order to collect the honey), a discarded cigarette, and KINAPA themselves (the park authority), who may undertake this kind of ‘arson’ in order to regenerate the vegetation.

The swathe of charred heather and blackened shrubbery on this route now matches a similar scene of devestation on the other side of the mountain on the rongai Route, where once again on the second afternoon of that awlk, if you are taking the Mawenzi Tarn side-trip, much of the vegetation on that day is still blackened by a fire that took place about 18 months ago.

Climbing Kilimanjaro – in Danish
Posted by Henry at 6:14 am, February 14th 2009.
Just before our recent trek up the mountain (Rongai Route, seven days, with nine out of ten trekkers making it to Uhuru; the tenth, and youngest, a 19-year-old from the UK, had to retire after 4 days with suspected appendicitis – further evidence that the older you are, often the more chance you have of making it to the summit!), we received an interesting email from Martin Fehr. Martin, from Denmark, who climbed Africa’s highest mountain a while ago now, and has a couple of recommendations for us to put in the new edition of the book.

Rather than wait for the third edition to be published (September ths year), I thought I’d share Martin’s thoughts with you here.The two main recommendations Martin makes are as follows:

* Advise people to bring “entertainment” for the trip. Many nights we regretted that we didn’t bring books and magazines. We were lucky to have brought cards, and my portable speakers we of joy every single night – especially the night before the final climb, where we arrived at Barafu hut quite early in the afternoon and needed to waste time somehow.
* Don’t be afraid to recommend climbing the mountain in end-April. Our porters were so happy to have work in low-season, we didn’t get a lot of rain, and there were absolutely no climbers on the mountain besides us, which made our climb exceptionally great! Plus the top of the mountain was all covered in snow – a challenge, but soooo beautiful (it was great to be able to “sleigh” down the mountain as well)

While we do encourage people to bring entertainment for the trip already, the second point he makes is an interesting one, particularly as most agencies discourage climbing in the wet season and many even close their offices at this time. But as Martin rightly points out, you may get lucky with the weather – and the porters will certainly appreciate the work at this time of the year.

Martin has written about his experiences on Kili online. The only trouble is, it’s all in Danish, though as Martin says, there are some pretty pictures to look at. The URL is:

If anybody else has any other recommendations about climbing the mountain that they think are worth putting into the next edition, please do not hesitate to send them in!

Enjoy your weekend everybody,


We’re all on the mountain!
Posted by Henry at 5:38 am, February 5th 2009.
Please note that Henry and the team will be on the mountain from the 6th to 12th February. We will thus be unable to answer any correspondence during this time. However, please be assured that we will – Tanzania’s internet connection willing – endeavour to answer all your emails as soon as we return.

Thanks for your patience – and have a good week


A Climb for British Soldiers
Posted by Henry at 10:04 am, February 4th 2009.
At the end of July this year Claire Cruddas, from Surrey in England, will be climbing Kilimanjaro on behalf of the Army Benevolent Fund. The climb is a lengthy 8 days – thereby giving her the best possible chance by giving herself time to acclimatise – and will be on the popular Machame Route.

The UK charity she is climbing for is commonly known as the “Soldiers’ Charity”, and helps both servicemen and former servicemen in times of need. This help can take many forms, from providing wheelchairs and stairlits to those injured in the line of duty, to providing holidays to full-time carers of former soldiers. You can find out more about the charity by logging on to

If you want to sponsor Claire’s climb for this worthy cause, please get in touch with us here at Climb Mount Kilimanjaro and we’l put you in touch with Claire.

We wish Claire the best of luck in her endeavours!

Celebs on Kilimanjaro
Posted by Henry at 1:07 pm, January 29th 2009.
As just everybody (at least in the UK) already knows, a bunch of celebrities are due to climb Kilimanjaro next month. Wading through the bulletins on various websites, it’s difficult to pin down who is actually taking part in the charity trek, which is being organised in aid of Comic Relief. However, the same names do seem to be cropping up. They include Radio 1’s Chris Moyles, singers such as Take That’s Gary Barlow, Girls Aloud’s Cheryl Cole, Alesha Dixon, Ronan Keating and Kimberley Walsh, presenters Fearne Cotton and Denise Van Outen, and, errr, a journalist from The Sun called Gordon Smart.

You can check on how Chris Moyles’ preparations for the climb are going by listening to his breakfast show, where it is frequently mentioned (a number of his studio bods are climbing with him, apparently, and much of the morning banter is taking up with descriptions of their inoculations, climbing equipment etc).

No doubt those of you in the UK reading this will be hearing plenty more about the success (or otherwise) of their trek in every newspaper, website and TV station throughout the land.

Suffice to say we wish them luck and hope they all make it to the top – and come back safely too!

Climb in aid of breast cancer 
Posted by Henry at 12:24 pm, January 19th 2009.
Two women from Britain are about to embark on the adventure of their lives in aid of Breast Cancer Care UK.

Friends Hannah Birch and Lynsay Kilbane will be climbing God’s Greatest Mountain on our Unique Rongai Route in all-pink outfits – pink being the colour ofthe charity. Their trek will begin on 20th February, meaning that they will, hopefullyl arrive around five-and-a-half days later at the top of Kilimanjaro.

Their reason for choosing to climb for Breast Cancer is obvious: breast cancer is a tragic disease and causes over 12,000 deaths in the UK every year. As they write on their webpage, the disease “affects so many women and their families and by doing this we aim to help them. This is an amazing cause and its something we have a possibility of getting when we’re older. Breast Cancer Care rely on the kindness of people and the donations they make so please sponsor us now!”

In order to find out more about their climb or to sponsor them, just visit their webpage at

We do of course wish the girls every success with their climb – and will let you know how they get on next month.

Climbing for the breakfast club 
Posted by Henry at 11:44 am, January 17th 2009.
Next week Majka Serafini, based in the UK but of Polish extraction, will be climbing to the roof of Africa to help raise funds for the hungry and needy school children of Tanzania.

Majka’s climb was prompted by some horrifying statistics published by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) that showed that a child dies from hunger every few seconds, even though there is supposed to be enough food in the world for everyone…

Surprisingly, for such a beautiful, friendly and peaceful nation, Tanzania is among the countries that suffers the most from child malnutrition. Indeed, in the developing world as a whole, over 400 million children suffer chronic hunger, 59 million go to school hungry and many others are currently not receiving any form of assistance.

As Majka says, “It only costs 7GBP pence or 11US cents a day to feed a child, so no contribution is too small to make a big difference in the lives of hungry children”.

You can help Majka raise money for her cause by visiting her justgiving webpage in support of Breakfast Club of Tanzania:

We of course wish Majka every success in her endeavours on the mountain, and will let you know how she gets on in due course.

Two men sharing an awful lot on Kilimanjaro
Posted by Henry at 2:19 pm, January 5th 2009.
Last week I received an email from a Mike Mullaney that caught my eye. Mike climbed Kilimanjaro in February 2007 with his friend Ken Page. What makes their achievement unique, however, is that Ken was walking with one of Mike’s kidneys, which he had donated to Ken back in 2003.

Mike was writing to ask if they were the first recipient/donor pair to make it to the summit. To be honest, I have no idea. I have certainly never heard of such a feat before, though it wouldn’t surprise me if there had in fact been other similar ‘couplings’ before.

To read more about their climb you can visit their weblog at

While if you know of any other climbers who have swopped organs and climbed together to the highest point in Africa, do let us know!

Kilimanjaro news stories April-June 2009 >>