Monday, January 27, 2014

Expedition Successful!

Our January 2014 Kilimanjaro Fundraising Expedition has now, sadly,  come to an end. What a huge success! Our team of 11 participants and 2 Outward Bound Canada instructors, with the excellent support from the local Chagga Tours crew, all summitted the mountain successfully. We also raised $100K for Outward Bound Canada's charitable programs for Women survivors of violence, Veterans dealing with transitional challenges, Aboriginal youth and youth at risk. Thank you all for your support of the climb and of our fundraising efforts - we could not have done it without the backing of friends and family.

Please consider joining the OBC July 2014 Kilimanjaro Expedition in support of our Veterans Program or the January 2015 Expedition. To find out more go to our website. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

We arrived back in Moshi and the Kilemakyaro Lodge last night, exhausted, dirty, but fulfilled and proud of our group accomplishments. Not only did all 13 of the team summit the highest mountain in Africa (and one of the seven summits), but the team collectively has raised to date $90k. Only $10k more to reach $100K so, if you can help us get there (or have friends who can) please do! All funds raised go to support Outward Bound Canada's charitable programs for women survivors of violence and/or abuse, Canadian military veterans, aboriginal youth and youth At risk.

After hot showers, an evening celebratory dinner and long sleeps at only 3000ft elevation we all are feeling better today.   This morning we were in Moshi being tourists doing some shopping, eating and visiting with the families of some of our guides. This is a picture of our team lunching at the Union Cafe - a local hangout with great coffee!  

And then later this morning we arrived in Amsterdam. We have been enjoying being at sea level and eating dutch pancakes! Arriving home soon....

Over and Out!

Monday, January 20, 2014

At Millenium Camp

Wow, what an epic 24hrs!

We left last night at midnight and the final members of our group got into our campsite for this evening at 4:00pm - 16hrs later. During that time we climbed 3500ft to the summit of the highest mountain in Africa and then descended 7000ft to our final campsite. We are all exhausted but elated and badly in need of showers and sleep.

Tonight will be our final dinner on the mountain - we are being served the traditional "chagga" meal of banana and meat stew with ugali. I think some of us are hoping there will also be less exotic soup and toast for our "alitude" affected tummies.

Tomorrow we have a final hike out through the forest, amidst beautiful trees and flowers, to our pick up at Mweka Gate and the beginning of celebrations back at the Kilemakyaro Lodge in Moshi. I will try to post some pictures from our adventure once back at the lodge when I have better reception. We love you all and miss you.

In the meantime, here is a picture from climber Kristen's blog of Karanga Camp:

We've Made It!!

Great news, the ENTIRE 2014 Mount Kilimanjaro team made it to the summit this morning!  We started at 12:20. We arrived just before 8:00 and got down about 10:30. We now need to pack up camp and hike for another 5 hours+ to our final camp.

Now the team is heading back down to the Millennium Camp at 12,500ft.

Here is a picture of team climber Kristen's blog (sent by one of our partners, Closing the Gap Healthcare Group) at the top:

And here is a picture from the summit in 2013 so you have a sense of what the 2014 would have seen this morning:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

On our way to the Top!

We are heading up to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro - Uhuru Point - tonight at midnight. Everyone is feeling good, excited and a little anxious. It should take us between 6 to 8 hours to summit, ascending 3500ft or 1000m.   We will then descend back down to our high camp at 16000ft and then onto our final resting spot tomorrow night at the Milenium Camp at 12500ft.   We will put up a post tomorrow morning to let you all know how we did. 

Spirits are high and we are thinking of you all. Send good thoughts our way!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Karanga: Day 4

Today the group arrived at Karanga! The group is great! Everyone is well and feeling good.

Here is an excerpt from climber Kristen's blog:

"We started our hike at 9:00.  Today we tackled the Barranco wall – and Team Outward Bound won!  It is an enormous cliff wall, with switch backs all the way up – 1000′. We often had to use the technique of “3-points of contact” to be safe.  Our guides are amazing.  In tricky spots they stand on the down side, ready to save us.  Luckily our whole team is fit and able – and we handled it like champs!  It certainly is humbling when we watch the porters carry our gear and jugs of water on their head up the wall at twice our speed.  We then went up and down through a few valleys and across small streams.  We arrived at camp around 2:30.  Now we are all chilling in our tents and getting some rest.

It is cold and rainy today (and yesterday too – but I think I forgot to mention that).  It was about 5 degrees this morning.  Nights are below zero.  It is crowded in my Mummy sleeping bag, with 2 hot water bottles, my camera, GPS watch and cell phone and socks and mitts that I need to dry out."

Otherwise, the group is ready for the summit climb tomorrow night. Just finished a great meal in our warm cozy dining tent, eating chocolate and laughing hilariously (especially Meghan!). Fun group, beautiful mountain and incredible adventure. Thank you for your support. Next post from our high camp at 16000ft.

Shira to Barranco: Day 3 of the Kili Climb

The group is well and having an amazing time and enjoying each other's company. Day 3 they travelled from Shira campsite to the Barranco campsite. We got as high as 15000ft and then sleep low at just over 13000ft. They have had beautiful, sunny weather and everyone is well. The next morning they challenged themselves with the famous Barranco Wall. They miss all their friends and family and are grateful for their support.

As climber Kristen wrote on her blog (here): "What an amazingly perfect day!!!"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Three of our intrepid guides

Three of our intrepid guides - Ape, Cide, Gerald - wearing their OBC buffs! We are in good hands...

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Leaving for the Mountain!

This morning we are leaving for our mountain and everyone is excited and a bit apprehensive. We had a good "layover" day yesterday at the Kilemakyaro Lodge - eating good food, going for a short practice hike in the noonday hot African sun, napping, more eating and then packing and preparing for our summit attempt. The group has come together well - from BC, Alberta, ON and even Arizona and, in true Outward Bound style, we are building a community. We will likely be unable to send as many photos going forward as it is harder to get the "bandwidth" on the mountain to send big files. We will send when we can. But, we are all healthy and well-excited and ready for our big adventure! Thank you to our families, friends and supporters for your contributions to our fundraising efforts (close to $85k right now and still coming in) and to helping us get here and following our progress.  

The Kili2014 team.  

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network.

Pre hike yoga moves.


We are all well here at the foot of Kilimanjaro! What a beautiful place to be resting up before our big trek begins tomorrow. We had a sleep in, breakfast of fresh fruit, pancakes, eggs, coffee and tea and then spent some time getting to know each other and meeting our Chagga Tours guides. We are off for a short day hike in the local coffee plantation in order to stretch our legs and prime our climbing legs! In this picture, Martha (one of the OBC guides) is leading us in some pre hike yoga stretches.   

Hakuna Mattata! 

Sarah and the Kili 2014 group.  

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pancakes in Amsterdam

The team has arrived safe and sound to Amsterdam, enjoying a pancake breakfast around 4am EST this morning before taking off again for Tanzania.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

And they're off!

Part of the team relaxing in the Toronto airport lounge, awaiting their flight to Tanzania via Amsterdam. 

And The Journey Begins...

Today’s the day the hikers start their journey! They will be leaving Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and flying to Tanzania via Amsterdam.  Then, three days from now, once they get settled and prepped and after registering with the park authority at the Machame Park Gate, they’ll begin their climb through the lush forest at the base of Kilimanjaro. That first day of hiking they will start at an altitude of 5,942ft and climb for 6 hours to a height of 9,911 ft. They’ll hear many exotic birds and may see the black and while Colobus Monkeys as they make their way through the forest before spending their first night at the Machame Camp just above the forest zone. 

For our final climber profile we are featuring none other than the team’s fearless leader herself, Outward Bound Canada’s Executive Director Sarah Wiley.  Read more about Sarah Below and stay tuned for updates straight from the field beginning today!

“I am currently the Executive Director of Outward Bound Canada, a position I have held since June 2010. I got my teaching degree and speciality in Outdoor and Experiential Education in 1989 and began working for Outward Bound Canada as an instructor in 1992. I left Outward Bound in 2004 and moved to Calgary where I worked as Director of Student Life at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School and then moved to Vancouver Island where I was the Deputy Head of School – Operations at Shawnigan Lake School.

I have a Masters of Education and an MBA, have travelled extensively and have climbed mountains in South America, North America, & Africa. I have led four previous climbs up Mt. Kilimanjaro with all but three of the 40+ climbers successfully summiting. 

My husband and I have a five year old son, Hugh, and a four year old dog named Charlie who both keep us quite busy! Though I work in Toronto at OBC’s head office, I am lucky to live in the country, about 90mins northwest of the city.  I am really looking forward to spending ten days on the mountain with what seems to be a fabulous team and am grateful for the fundraising efforts to date. With the funds raised from this climb, we will be able to increase access to Outward Bound programs to those who will most benefit from them.”

Please help Sarah and her fellow climbers reach their goal by making a donation to the 2013 Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb, clicking on the "Canada Helps" icon below:

Friday, January 10, 2014

So Many Ways to the Top

We are only two days away from our climbers taking off for Tanzania! Climbing Kilimanjaro requires no technical climbing or mountaineering experience. The biggest challenge and danger is the high altitude.  Otherwise, Kilimanjaro has five common routes to its highest summit: Marangu Route; Machame Route; Rongai Route; Lemosho Route; and Mweka Route. The Machame route is the option our climbers will be taking.  Although it is a popular route, it isn’t the easiest, but it is incredibly scenic and gives the climbers one extra day for acclimatization.

Our next climber profile is on Debra Ross.  We wish her and all the climbers the best of luck!  Read more about Debra below.

“Debra Ross’ penchant for success reaches far beyond the typical trail blazed by entrepreneurs before her. Since leaving home at the age of 14, she never had the financial means to pursue a conventional education and completed high school through correspondence. She then completed a post secondary  AMET program at SAIT Polytechnic, graduating with honours.  This acted as a springboard to her current business career which ultimately has served her and her community well.

Debra founded her first company, Gamma-Tech Inspection Ltd., in 2002. Debra was highly criticized by her peers for working in the male-dominated and highly regulated oil and gas industry. She has built her start up into a multiple seven-figure company that is the top of its field. Debra’s perseverance and mindset are evidence of her motto ‘A falling cat always lands on its feet’.

This self-made entrepreneur shares her success with charities and budding entrepreneurs. Debra’s persona will allow her for continued significance as she launches new ventures that will revolutionize the banking and finance industry.”

Please help Debra and her fellow climbers reach their goal by making a donation to the 2013 Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb, clicking on the "Canada Helps" icon below:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Making the Business World a Better Place… One Step at a Time

Kilimanjaro is not a peak you can climb on your own. It is mandatory to climb with a licensed guide and have porters carry your equipment. This sustains the local economy and enables local people to reap the rewards of tourism. 

Our amazing local guides are from Chagga Tours, founded by mountain guide Michael Nelson Ntiyu from Tanzania and investor and hiker Christina Helbig from Germany.  Outward Bound Canada board member and 2014 Mount Kilimanjaro climber Edyta Pacuk will be meeting the team from Chagga Tours this January.  Read more about Edyta below or check out her personal blog about the tour here:

“Edyta Pacuk, President of MarchFifteen Consulting Inc, has a mission: to make the business world a better place. Her ongoing efforts to connect organizations to community is not only a message in her work, but also her way of living. Whilst being a hopeless ideologist, she is also pragmatic and ensures that conversations about social footprints do not remain on an esoteric plane. Edyta is thoughtful and reflective in her professional practice but definitely could not be described as someone who enjoys sitting still!

Climbing Kilimanjaro with Outward Bound is another way in which she wants to contribute to increasing awareness with a particular focus on the Women of Courage Program which enables victims of violence to transform into Thriving Survivors.”

Please help Edyta and her fellow climbers reach their goal by making a donation to the 2013 Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb, clicking on the "Canada Helps" icon below:

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Loftiest Spot in Africa and the German Empire

Kilimanjaro was first climbed on October 5, 1889 by German geologist Hans Meyer, Marangu scout Yoanas Kinyala Lauwo, and Austrian Ludwig Purtscheller. After reaching the summit, Meyer later wrote that they gave “three ringing cheers, and in virtue of my right as its first discoverer christened this hitherto unknown [peak] —the loftiest spot in Africa and the German Empire—Kaiser Wilhelm’s Peak.”

While she may not be the first to conquer the mountain, Fallon will be no less excited to climb Mount Kilimanjaro this year.  Read more about Fallon below.

 “I am a licensed therapist in the state of Arizona. I provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and personality disorders. I am a Chicago, Illinois native and attended university in Illinois where I was a track athlete. I attended grad and medical school in the state of Arizona. 

Being an athlete throughout my life has been a major influence for me to take on many physical challenges.  Although I am from the city I have always enjoyed outdoor activities. In the last few years I have had the pleasure of experiencing outdoor activities in many different climates, most recently being on a trip to Peru assisting families who reside in the Andes. This experience gave me a first-hand experience of how a little bit of help goes a long way.

My connection to Outward Bound is completely new as Patrick Daniel introduced me to the program after he completed the climb of Kilimanjaro a year ago. I am very happy to be a part of an organization that provides these types of opportunities. I am looking forward to the physical and mental challenge of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro with what looks like a great group of people.”

Please help Fallon and her fellow climbers reach their goal by making a donation to the 2013 Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb, clicking on the "Canada Helps" icon below: