Mount Kilimanjaro Defeats Jordanian Princess

It looks like money and privilege can’t buy everything.

Princess Sarah Princess Sara bint Al Faisal of Jordan, niece of King Abdullah II, failed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the Tanzania Daily News reports.

The 18-year-old princess tried to scale the famous mountain last weekend with a large entourage of assistants and Jordanian international students. She reached the Kibo point at 4,700 meters (15,420 feet) but developed altitude sickness. Doctors climbing with her advised her to descend instead of attempting to reach the mountain’s highest summit, Uhuru point at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet).

Symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, rapid pulse and more. For full coverage see this PDF document. To prevent altitude sickness, it’s best to ascend in stages, staying overnight at an intermediate altitude to give the body time to adapt. The only cure of altitude sickness is to descend to a lower altitude, which should be done immediately.

It’s difficult to predict who will get altitude sickness. When I climbed to similar elevations in the Himalayas the only symptom I noticed was a need for more breaks. On the other hand, a couple of other trekkers who looked far more fit than I was got very sick and had to descend.

The princess hoped to get a certificate of achievement for scaling the mountain. Only three of her party made it to Uhuru Point and got the certificate. She said that she enjoyed her trip to Tanzania and would try to climb the mountain again.

[Photo courtesy Muhammad Mahdi Karim]

Martina Navratilova succumbs to altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro

Last week we reported that tennis great Martina Navratilova was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa to raise funds and awareness for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. She was setting off to reach the top of Africa’s tallest mountain, which stands 19,340 feet in height, and hoped to hit a few tennis balls off the summit to celebrate her success. But as the week wore on, she began to struggle, eventually turning back as she developed the very serious symptoms of pulmonary edema, also known as altitude sickness.

After struggling for several days on the trail, Martina was forced to turn back last Thursday when her lungs began to fill with liquid. She reached a height of 14,800 feet, but was too weak, and taking too great of a risk, to continue any higher. Instead, she was helped back down the mountain by a group of porters, who took her to a nearby hospital in Tanzania. From there, she was sent to a larger facility in Nairobi, Kenya, where she was treated for three days before being released on Sunday.

Before starting up Kili, Navratilova has never been to an altitude higher than 12,000 feet, but living in Aspen, Colorado she believed that she could acclimatize to the altitude quickly. She even went so far as to call the trek “just a basic hike.” After being released from the hospital she was singing a bit of a different tune however, saying “This was supposed to be fun, but nobody had fun. It was just survival. It is not an experience one would enjoy.”

Each year, a number of trekkers underestimate the challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro, which results in numerous evacuations from the mountain. Most are not as serious as this one however, and had she continued higher, Navratilova ran the real risk of death. Fortunately, her guides knew when to take her back down and get her the medical attention she needed.

If you’re planning a Kili climb of your own, don’t let this story dissuade you. Do your best to prepare ahead of time, getting in some good cardio workouts and go on a few distance hikes carrying a pack. When you get to Tanzania, listen to your guides, and take their advice to go “Pole! Pole!”, which means “Slowly! Slowly!” With that in mind, you’ll have a good chance of reaching the fabled snows of Kilimanjaro.

[Photo credit: Chris Jackon/Getty Images]

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova to climb Kilimanjaro

54-year old tennis legend Martina Navratilova is in Tanzania this week where she’ll be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa at 19,340 feet. She is making the climb to raise funds for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting sportsmanship and a code of conduct in athletics, around the world.

The nine-time Wimbledon singles winner has never been above 12,000 feet before, so the altitude could prove to be a bit of a challenge. She lives in Aspen, Colorado however, so has a good level of acclimatization before ever arriving on the mountain. Navratilova doesn’t seem too concerned about the challenges of the climb though, as she has called the trek “just a basic hike.”

She does hope to raise 100,000 euros, or about $134,000 through the donation page on the Laureus webpage. A little more than half of that amount was already raised before she after left for Africa.

While still playing professional tennis, Martina was viewed as one of the toughest competitors to ever set foot on the court. During her long career she won 167 individuals titles, including 31 Grand Slams, and dominated the sport like no woman before or since. When she reaches the top of Kilimanjaro, she plans to hit tennis balls off the summit of course.

Fight the AIDS epidemic in Africa by climbing Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is an amazing experience that deserves to be on the “life list” for any adventure traveler. Standing 19,340 feet in height, Kili is the tallest mountain in Africa and the highest free standing volcano in the world. Located just a few degrees off the equator, its snow capped summit is the stuff of legends, even inspiring Ernest Hemingway to write about it. Now, you can combine your desire for a great adventure with the opportunity to have a positive impact on the place you visit.

In 2011, the American Foundation for Children with AIDS is sponsoring four charity climbs up Kilimanjaro, delivering an unprecedented opportunity for travelers to experience that adventure while helping young people in Africa as well. The AFCA is a non-profit organization that raises awareness and fund for children affected by AIDS on that continent, and in recent years they’ve made an annual climb up the mountain as one of their primary fundraisers. Participants on those climbs are expected to raise a minimum of $8000 to take part in the expedition. That money is used to pay for transportation and lodging while on the trip, food while climbing the mountain, including water and snacks and hiring guides. Additionally a $5000 donation is made to the AFCA’s to help fund their work in sub-Saharan Africa.

The dates for next year’s climb are as follows;

February 28 – March 10, 2011
August 6- 17, 2011
September 11-20, 2011
Women’s Only Climb: October 1 – 12, 2011

Each of the expeditions can accept up to 14 travelers and with several options available, there is some flexibility for when participants can take part in the adventure. With dates as far out as October of next year, there is still plenty of time to get signed up and start the fund raising process.

For more information on the organization and these great charitable climbs, click here.

Climb Kilimanjaro with Polarmax’s ultimate adventure sweepstakes

Standing 19,340-feet in height, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, and a popular destination for adventure travelers. The climb to the summit is a non-technical, but still challenging, affair that will take your breath away as much for the spectacular views of the Serengeti below, as for the thin air at the top. For many, a Kili climb is a once in a lifetime adventure, and now, thanks to Polarmax, you could make the journey yourself.

The company has joined forces with Backpacker Magazine, Cotton Incorporated, and Zara Tours to bring us the Kilimanjaro Ultimate Adventure Sweepstakes which will send one lucky winner, and their guest, to Tanzania in January of 2011 to attempt to climb the mountain. The grand prize includes round trip airfare to Africa, ground transportation while there, four nights stay in a hotel, and a six day Kilimanjaro climb guided by Kili expert Macon Dunnagan. The sweepstakes winner will also be outfitted with plenty of Polarmax gear to keep them comfortable and warm while on the trek, and a custom video of the expedition will be shot for the Polarmax website as well.

To enter the contest, simply go to this page and fill out the entry form. Entries are being accepted through October 11, with travel scheduled to take place January 7-17, 2011. This is a great opportunity to experience one of the best adventure travel options on the planet, and entering the contest couldn’t be any easier.

For an idea of what to expect on this adventure, check out the video below.