News April-June 2010

Climb for Autism
Posted by Henry at 12:02 pm, June 14th 2010.
I have received a poignant email from a lady who is climbing on behalf of autism this year. In a break with tradition, rather than paraphrase her email I have decided to print it as it was received this morning:

” My name is Jackie Knechtel. I am a speech pathologist in NYC. A year ago I lost my brother. This was a catalyst for me to live my dream and now I am currently traveling around the world for a year and seeing and doing everything I can and living life to the fullest!. For the last leg of my journey I am gearing up to head to Africa! For the past few weeks I have been training body and mind to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro the tallest free standing mountain in the world and the tallest mountain in Africa:19,340 feet (5,895 meters) for a cause very close to my heart. For the past 10 years I have dedicated my life to working with children with Autism. I climb for them. I am new to climbing and suffer from altitude induced asthma. What I will put myself through is nothing compared to the challenges that families with children with Autism face on a daily basis.

Autism is the second most common developmental disorder in the United States affecting one in every 110 children born today. 1 in 100 births in Australia. It is an epidemic all across the globe. Despite some promising discoveries, the cause of autism is unknown and a cure does not exist. Research is crucial. Every 20 minutes another child is diagnosed with autism. Not only must we find ways to improve the quality of life for children and adults with autism, but we also must find a cure, and soon!

My goal is to raise much needed funds for Autism Speaks. I am nearly a quarter of the way to reaching my goal of $10,000! If just 75 people each contribute $100 I’m there! Please contribute whatever you can; no amount is too large or too small. Every donation received is will help motivate me to reach the summit!

Check out my interview in the ASHA Leader !!:

Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support Autism Speaks:


Thank you for taking an important step in the fight against autism. A special thanks to those who have already donated! Please pass this email on to anyone you know and contact me if you have media connections so together we can reach as many people as possible!”

We wish Jackie every success with her climb and will let you know how she gets on with her climb.

Want to climb for the good of Tanzania?
Posted by Henry at 4:11 pm, June 1st 2010.

A charity group has recently been in touch asking for people to consider their cause when it comes to choosing a charity to climb for. The Touch Foundation. We are involved in helping to strengthen Tanzania’s health system via a variety of private/public partnerships and developing a model that can be replicated throughout Africa to provide a sustainable solution to the current health care crisis in sub Saharan Africa. You can find out more about their work at .

They are now launching a new project called “Climb for Health” campaign in which climbers will raise awareness and money for Touch’s work in Tanzania while attempting to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. Unlike many of the charity treks featured on this site, we are not doing it on a set date with a group of people, but are looking to give individual climbers (who would be coming to Kilimanjaro anyway) a chance to climb for a cause.

Interested? Then contact Joshua Doying at for details.

Fancy climbing for Children Today?
Posted by Henry at 7:40 am, May 26th 2010.
A British charity is looking for climbers to join them on a sponsored trek up Africa’s highest mountain. The charity, Children Today, is a small British charity founded in 1994 to help disabled children and young people up to the age of 25 enjoy a better quality of life by providing them with the specialised equipment they need.

The provision of equipment and aids is vital in helping children and young people overcome their disabilities and enable them to lead full and active lives with their families and friends.

They have alreay organised a climb for September this year. This is, alas, now full so they are now looking for people to join their climb on the Marangu Route between March 4-11 2011.

To find out more about the charity and their climb, visit

Want to know how you’ll fare at altitude?
Posted by Henry at 3:05 pm, May 4th 2010.
Last week I was fortunate enough to be shown around London’s Altitude Centre (

Set in the heart of Covent Garden on Drury Lane – at an altitude of approximately 25m above sea level – those clever people at the Altitude Centre are able to recreate the lack of atmospheric pressure present at high altitudes.

While the centre was set up initially with an emphasis on helping athletes to conduct high-altitude training while never leaving the capital, the service they provide is of course of great interest to those about to head to very high altitudes – such as those about to climb Kilimanjaro!

Indeed, a visit to the Centre is perhaps the most reliable way of checking to see if you are likely to suffer from altitude sickness or not. And if it should transpire that, according to their assessment of you, they predict that you are likely to succumb to altitude sickness, then they have a training program that, if carried out a few weeks prior to your departure, should help you to acclimatise more efficiently on the mountain.

So how does it all work? Well the altitude centre is equipped with several clever contraptions called a hypoxicator. Place the mask over your mouth and nose, and the air you breathe will contain less oxygen than the 20.9% present at sea level – and thus mimics the effect of being at altitude.

(Pedants will point out that at altitude the level of oxygen present in the air remains at 20.9% – it is the atmospheric presure that changes. Nevertheless, the effect of reducing the amount of oxygen in the air has the same effect on the body; and by steadily reducing the amount of oxygen that one breathes, the hypoxicator can thus mimic the conditions present at ever higher altitudes).

Before being strapped to one of these machines, however, first-time visitors to the centre receive an hour-long consultation about altitude and its potential effects on the body. They are then asked to put on the hypoxicator mask and a series of tests are run in order to see how the person may react to being at altitude.

If it transpires that the person is likely to fare badly when taken to altitude, then the centre offers the chance for people to acclimatise before heading off to Africa. By training for about two-three weeks prior to the trek while on a hypoxicator, a person can increase the number of red blood cells (which take about 15 days to grow, and remain for about 3-4 months) – the essential component in acclimatisating to altitude.

All very impressive, of course, and we really think there are major benefits available from using the centre to those about to climb Kilimanjaro. However, there is of course a price for all this high-tech: the initial one-hour consultation is £99. While a 15-day course to help you acclimatise costs £299.

Kilimanjaro GPS waymarks now online
Posted by Henry at 12:12 pm, May 2nd 2010.
We have finally published our GPS waymarks online. These waymarks, or waypoints, have taken by us over the past few years and cover all the routes on the mountain.

For the relevant webpage, click this Kilimanjaro GPS Waypoints link.

The waymarks, which were previously available only in our book (and thus were not downloadable), are saved as .gdb files. The format we have used for these waypoints is known as UTM and the map datum is WGS 84 (37M) – though you can change both of these on a Garmin GPS by going to ‘Units setup’ on the ‘Settings’ menu, then changing the position format and map datum as necessary.

By downloading them onto your computer and then uploading them onto your GPS unit, you should have a fairly decent plot of your trek.

Note that those on our Unique Rongai Route can email me for GPS waypoints of this route.

Any comments on these waypoints and their accuracy will be gratefully received. Thanks.

Climb for Diabetes
Posted by Henry at 11:20 am, April 14th 2010.
In June of next year Bruce Fraser will be aiming to climb Africa’s Highest Mountain, Kilimanjaro, in aid of Diabetes UK.

Bruce decided to take the plunge and attempt the climb after his son, Kris, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2007. Diabetes is a growing condition as more and more people develop it, especially Type 2, or “late onset” as it’s otherwise known. The charity is world-reknowned for its research and support to diabetics, its website being particularly well-developed and informative.

As if climbing for this worthwhile charity wasn’t reason enough to tackle Kili, Bruce is also going to be celebrating his 51st birthday in Tanzania.

He has set up a blog about his preparations for the climb at

We do of course wish Bruce every success and will keep in touch with his progress throughout the next year.

Kilimanjaro news stories July-September 2010>>