News April-June 2011

Septuagenarian conquers Kili
Posted by Henry at 6:06 am, June 15th 2011.
We recently received an email from a Mr Duncan Burr, who conquered Kilimanjaro on April 8 of this year. Nothing unusual about this, of course – thousands of people successfully pit themselves against Kili every year. What makes Mr Burr’s climb unusual, however, is that he was seventy years old at the time, having been born in September 1940.

This doesn’t make Mr Burr the oldest to conquer Kili – the mysterious Mr Daniel, at 87, remains the record holder, while the Guinness Book of Records records a Mr Carl Haupt as the oldest, aged 79. Indeed, some people say that older people tend to do better on Kili as they go at a slower pace, thereby allowing them to acclimatise better.

Nevertheless, seventy certainly is at the upper end of the age bracket for attempting Kili, and Mr Burr did find the going tough. As he wrote to us:

‘”Hard” is an understatement!!! I live in Spain and had done so much training carrying 15kg sand on my back up all the local mountains, including a couple at 3000mteres, and spending hours in the gym, but nothing had prepared me for that last 300 metres steep bit to Gillman’s Point. Sheer determination (and a very understanding and supportive guide) got me round the crater rim to Uhuru, but the return journey on 70-year-old knees that were no longer prepared to bend was unimaginably difficult. And where I’d planned to take a gentle two days over the journey from Kibo down to Marangu Gate, my guide, being concerned at his now somewhat wheezy and breathless charge, had other ideas, so it was an umcomfortably rapid return, followed by a trip to Moshi Hospital for a quick check-over before being allowed to return to my daughter’s home in Arusha.’

As you can see, such septuagenarian feats are noteworthy and the amount of effort expended in getting to the top is extraordinary and we have put a photo of him at the summit in our Hall of Fame. Mr Burr climbed in aid of Heshima (, a children’s education charity based in Arusha. Heshima in Swahili means ‘respect’ – something Mr Burr is definitely due for his feats on Africa’s highest mountain.

Climb for The Born Free Foundation
Posted by Henry at 9:42 am, June 1st 2011.
In June this year Martyn Roberts from Wakefield in West Yorkshire, will be pitting himself against Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. A noble endeavour by itself, Martyn’s quest is doubly virtuous as he’ll be climbing for The Born Free Foundation.

The Born Free Foundation is an international wildlife charity working throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering and protect threatened species in the wild. Anybody who’s seen the films of Elsa the lion will be aware of the foundation and how the charity was founded. But in addition to such African stars as lions, elephants, gorillas and chimpanzees, the foundation also works all over the world in their attempts to better the lot of tigers, polar bears, wolves, dolphins, turtles, sharks – and many more.

Mr Roberts will be taking our Unique Rongai Route to the top (hopefully), and aims to reach the summit on 15 June. he has set up a website to help people sponsor him: visit for further details on Mr Roberts, his climb and the Born Free Foundation.

We do, of course, wish Marty all the best on his adventure! Good luck Martyn!!

Sisters to climb for two charities – and in memory of their mum
Posted by Henry at 7:28 am, April 12th 2011.
In July this year four sisters will be pitting themselves against Africa’s highest mountain in an attempt to raise funds for two very worthwhile causes. Gill Ower and her sisters Lorna, Heather and Cerwyss O’Hare, will be climbing via our own Unique Rongia Route. The first charity they will be raising funds for is the World Cancer Research Fund, which leads and unites the work of several cancer charities in battling against the disease by means of healthy food and nutrition, physical activity and body weight. They are also climbing for Children 1st, a Scottish charity that helps that country’s vulnerable children and families by speaking out on children’s rights, influencing legislation and campaigning for change.

Both charities are close to the sisters’ hearts. Their mum, Audrey, passed away last year with breast cancer after a ten-year struggle. Audrey had learnt that she had contracted the disease while she was training to tackle the mountain herself. The daughters thus felt that there couldn’t be a more appropriate tribute to their mum than to attempt to conquer the mountain that she herself never managed to tackle. And as Audrey’s own climb was going to be in aid of Children 1st, her daughters thought it only fitting to climb for the same charity themselves.

You can sponsor the Ower sisters’ climb by visiting the website they have set up all about their climb:

We do, of course, wish them all well and will hopefully let you know how they get on!

Kilimanjaro news stories July-September 2011 >>