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.

Abercrombie & Kent announce extreme adventures for 2010

Adventure travel specialist Abercrombie & Kent have announced their “extreme” adventures for 2010, offering up 15 amazing opportunities for travelers looking for unique experiences, provided of course they also have plenty of cash to pay for them.

No matter what kind of adventure you crave, you’re sure to find it on this list. For instance, you can head off into the desert on an eleven day expedition that follows in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, or if sun and sand aren’t your cup of tea, then maybe you’d prefer to go dog sledding in Norway for nine days. Fancy a mountain setting? Than book a trip to Everest Base Camp for 20 days of trekking in the Khumbu Valley instead. These are just a few of the great options that A&K have in store for 2010, with tours planned for remote locations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and even the South Pole.

Widely considered one of the best luxury travel companies in the world, Abercrombie & Kent has years of experience planning adventurous trips to the far corners of the globe. The company promises small group tours, ranging in size from about 6-8 people, which allows for more one-on-one interaction with their expert guides, as well as ensuring that the group can move quickly while having a very limited impact on the environment.

Of course, these specialized tours come at quite a cost, and while many tour operators are looking for ways to offer discounted options in these challenging economic times, A&K is sticking to their plan to offer unique experiences for premium prices. For example, that dog sledding expedition that I mentioned above comes with a hefty price tag of $9655, not including airfare. Clearly not for the backpacker on a budget!

Blind Climbers Summit Kilimanjaro

A team of visually impaired climbers representing the See Kili Our Way organization reached the summit of Africa’s highest mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro, last week, claiming two records in the process. The group consisted of eight blind mountaineers and 17 sighted guides, and their successful summit was remarkable for putting the most blind climbers on top of Kilimanjaro ever. 13-year old Max Ashton claimed the record for youngest visually impaired climber to achieve the summit as well.

Standing 19,340 feet in height, Kilimanjaro is the tallest free standing mountain in the world and has become a major destination for adventure travelers. A typical climb takes roughly seven days to complete and there are a variety of routes to the summit, and while the mountain doesn’t require any technical skills to climb, its altitude often poses problems for those trekking its approach trails.

That didn’t seem to be the case for these 25 climbers, who kept an interesting blog of their adventures, and managed to summit as a single unit. The group was climbing to raise awareness and funds for the Foundation for Blind Children, an Arizona organization dedicated to helping the blind live full and enriched lives, often by beginning to assist them at a very young age.

Congratulations to the entire team. They are an inspiration to all of us.

[via Backpacker]

Ten Mountains For The Amateur Mountaineer

A lot of adventure travelers also happen to be armchair mountaineers. They follow the worlds top climbers as they make bold attempts on impossibly high and remote mountains in all corners of the globe, and they cheer them on as they stand at the top of the world. Many of them secretly wish they could go on their own expeditions to these distant peaks, but for a variety of reasons, they never have the opportunity.

It turns out there are a number of great climbs that can give you the feeling of your own big mountain expedition, without the big mountain expense and the need to give up several months of your life. Forbes Traveler has put together a list of ten such mountains each of which will challenge the heartiest of travelers, while delivering a true mountaineering experience.

Several of the mountains on the list are icons that are already popular with amateur climbers. Mountains like Mount Blanc on the border Italy and France. The 12,000 foot peak is considered the birth place of modern mountaineering, and is one of the classic climbs of Europe. The 19,340 foot Mt. Kilimanjaro is also considered a classic climb, taking trekkers to the highest point in Africa.

The other mountains on the list, while possibly lesser known, offer unique mountain experiences that are sure to thrill any adventure traveler and would-be mountaineer. These peaks can be climbed in a matter of days, rather than weeks, and they won’t leave your pocket book quite so empty as say an Everest expedition, which can cost upwards of $50,000 and require two months of time on the mountain.

So, if you hear the call of the mountains yourself, and you can’t resist the lure, strap on your crampons, grab your trekking poles and head to any one of these peaks for an adventure of your own.