Barefoot Kilimanjaro trekkers complete climb

Barefoot on the summit of KilimanjaroLast week we told you about a group of climbers from South Africa who were attempting to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa, without wearing shoes. Over the weekend, these barefoot adventurers completed their climb, but not without overcoming plenty of challenges along the way.

The team, which calls itself the Barefoot Impi, made their final push to the top of the 19,340-foot Kilimanjaro early Saturday morning. Setting out from the Kibo Huts, they trekked for more than four hours before reaching Gilman’s Point, one of the more famous landmarks on the way to the summit. At that point, they had walked barefoot for hours in below-freezing temperatures while dealing with steep slopes littered with loose volcanic scree. The next stage of the hike wouldn’t be any easier however, as two feet of fresh snow had hit the top of the mountain a few days ealier, and they had to make the rest of the climb in icy-powder – sans shoes.

Eventually they did make it to the top, and all five members of the team who had set out on this barefoot quest managed to complete the trek without any kind of natural or artificial protection on their feet. That’s a fairly remarkable accomplishment considering the temperatures and surface conditions they had to endure to get there. You can read all about their final day on the mountain in a blog post here.

As we mentioned in our original story, this charity climb was undertaken to raise funds for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, which is one of the first of its kind on the entire continent. No word on whether or not the Barefoot Impi team reached their fund raising goals, but clearly they were successful on their venture to scale the mountain.

My feet hurt just thinking about it.

[Photo courtesy BarefootImpi.org]