A few days back we posted a story about paraplegic athlete Chris Waddell attempting to climb Africa’s highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro, under his own power. When that story was written Chris was still in the midst of his climb, and was camped on the mountain at 18,000 feet. Yesterday, he completed his epic journey, and became the first paraplegic to reach Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa.
The details of Chris’ final push to the top of the mountain remain a bit thin at the moment, but the most recent update to his blog shared the news, saying: “This just in… It’s official ! … Chris is the 1st paraplegic to summit Kili, unassisted! This is wonderful news and we are so very excited. Today is a very, good day! Congratulations to Chris Waddell & the One-Revolution team on a successful summit of Mount Kilimanjaro!!!!” A second update later in the day said that the team had returned to Kili’s crater, where they were spending the night, and that there would be further updates today once they had descended the mountain and returned to their hotel.
In order for Chris to go up Kilimanjaro, he and his team, had to put together a special cart that he could propel using his hands. He essentially peddled the cart, using just the strength of his arms, all the way to the top of the 19,340 foot mountain, dealing with widely varying terrain, plenty of loose rock scree, and the effects of altitude along the way.
For Chris, this is just another amazing accomplishment for a guy who hasn’t let his disability stand in his way. He wanted to make the climb to inspire others, and I think it safe to say that he did just that. Congrats to him and his entire team.