Celebrity Climbers Summit Kilimanjaro For A Cause

A group of celebrity climbers topped out on the highest peak in Africa earlier this week in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of clean drinking water in developing nations. The group reached the 19,341-foot summit of Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro on Friday after spending seven days scaling its slopes.

The group was led by Grammy-nominated musician Kenna, who was joined by actors Justin Chatwin (Showtime’s “Shameless”) and Beau Garrett (“Tron: Legacy”), as well as Mark Foster of the band Foster the People, amongst others. The team was climbing as part of the Summit on the Summit II expedition, which was organized by Kenna and is a follow-up to a similar trek that took place back in 2010.

The SOTS organization is focused on educating the public about the clean drinking water crisis that many developing countries continue to face. Most of us are accustomed to simply turning on the tap in our homes and getting safe water whenever we need it, but that isn’t the reality for a large number of people around the globe. In fact, according to the Water Project, a non-profit dedicated to delivering clean water to those who need it, more than 800 million people on our planet do not have access to safe drinking water at all. That’s about 11% of the world’s population. This climb of Kilimanjaro was undertaken to educate people of that plight.

A Kilimanjaro trek is a mostly non-technical ascent up the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. If you’re in reasonably good health and take your time, it is possible for many people to reach the summit. Most expeditions up the mountain take roughly 6-7 days to complete, with another day required for the descent. This team went up the scenic Maragnu Route, which is amongst the more popular hikes. A Kili climb is one of the best adventure travel experiences around and there are a number of excellent guide services that can take travelers up the mountain.

[Photo Credit: Summit on the Summit]

Celebs complete Kilimanjaro climb

Last week we reported that a group of celebrity mountaineers, led by singer Kenna, were setting off on a climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. The group, which included actors Jessica Biel and Emile Hirsch, rapper Lupe Fiasco, and adventure photographer Jimmy Chin, amongst others, was climbing to raise awareness of a growing global crisis over the lack of clean drinking water in many parts of the world, and they hoped to inspire the rest of us to sponsor a foot of their climb to help combat the problem.

Yesterday, the Summit on the Summit website was updated with the news that the team had achieved their goal by reaching Uhuru Peak, the very top of the mountain, which is often referred to as the Roof of Africa. The climb was not an easy one however, as over the course of the past week, the celebs struggled with inclement weather, challenging trails, and the effects of altitude on their bodies.

Today the team will spend most of the day getting down the mountain. Although it has takes the better part of a week for them to reach the top of Kilimanjaro, they’ll return to the base of the mountain in just one day. Although Kili is a non-technical peak, it can still be physically demanding, and the entire group will be happy to be breathing the richer air found at the lower altitudes. Once they’re off the mountain, they’ll no doubt spend spend some time resting and reflecting on what they’ve accomplished, and enjoying the fact that their expedition was successful in more ways than one.

Congratulations to the entire summit team!

Summit on the Summit: celebrity Kilimanjaro climb begins today!

Standing 19,340 feet in height, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, and a popular trekking destination for adventure travelers. The mountain requires no technical skills to reach the summit, but remains a significant challenge none-the-less, which is why it often serves as the location for high profile, fund raising climbs.

One such climb, dubbed the Summit on the Summit, begins today with a number of celebrities joining the expedition, which hopes to raise awareness about the need for clean drinking water around the globe. The SOTS website says that more than 1 billion people do not have access to potable water and that every 15 seconds, somewhere on the planet, a child dies due to a water-related disease, such as malaria or typhoid. The expedition has partnered with the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program, the UN Refugee Agency, and Playpumps International in order to deliver clean drinking water to remote places around the globe while educating the developed world about this growing problem.

The Summit on the Summit expedition is the brainchild of musician Kenna, who invited a few of his friends along for the climb. He is joined by rapper Lupe Fiasco, actor Jessica Biel, and adventure photographer Jimmy Chin, amongst many others, on the eight day climb that will take them to the Roof of Africa, passing through five unique climate zones along the way. If everything goes according to schedule, the team will stand at Uhuru Peak, the summit of Kilimanjaro, next Wednesday.

The expedition has multiple ways for us to get involved and follow along with the team as they make their way towards the summit. The official website offers a slick interface with all kinds of information on the mountain, the climbers, and their cause. You can also follow their progress and get updates through the team’s Twitter feed, which is found at @SOTSK. They have been tweeting about their experience since their arrival in Tanzania yesterday evening.

But more importantly, you can contribute directly to the cause by sponsoring a foot of the climb. The team hopes to get all 19,340 feet sponsored before they are done, with all funds raised going directly to providing clean water for people in need all over the planet. It’s a great cause with a dedicated crew, and it should be fun to follow along.