Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Kili blog

On our way home! Rebecca reveals that ketchup is originally from China, as we prepare to board our plane at Kilimanjaro International

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

And now, after the celebration of summiting, an apology: we sent blog posts from the mountain every day except one, and from our end there was every indication that they went through, but apparently they did not. Our apologies for this.

Sent from Brendan Madden's mobile phone.

Kili blog

One equal temper of heroic hearts.

Our team and Tanzanian guides, on top of the tallest mountain in Africa.

Kili blog

Hi everyone! Here is a picture of us looking down on the sunrise, from the highest point in Africa. Yes, we made it, all of us, up and down, as a team.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Kili blog

Mike and Rick contemplate the fact that we were on top of that summit at 7 am this morning! (Note: no photos of the long and arduous summit climb because it is done at night by headlamp, starting at midnight).

Kili blog

Leaving the summit on the long (7,000') descent to tonight's camp. Tired but proud.

Kili blog

Sunrise viewed from the highest point in Africa

Kili blog

Veteran High Altitude Climber and Leader Angus Murray surveys his domain

Kili Summit

We made it! All of us. Together, as a team.
"One equal temper of heroic hearts"

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Kili blog

Approaching the Barranco Wall with the summit in the background

Kili post

We arrived at Karanga Camp today after ascending the famous Barranco Wall: a fun (for some) scrambly climb with solid handholds in the volcanic rock.

Kili Group is at Camp Four

I just heard from the group via text message that they are all safe and sound at the Karanga Valley campsite, also known as Camp 4. The cell coverage has not been good so it has been hard to get messages out. Everyone is fine. Tomorrow the group will ascend to the Barafu campsite, or High Camp. They will rest there for a few hours and then make their summit attempt tomorrow night around midnight. Let's wish them all a safe and successful journey to the top of Africa!

Sarah Wiley
Executive Director, OBC

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, January 20, 2017


Looking back on Mt. Meru from Shira Camp


Group shot in the dining tent!


Cathy is serenaded in Kiswahili by our guides and porters for her birthday!

Descending to Barranco Camp


We made it safe and sound to Barranco Camp on schedule.

Have been having trouble getting a cell connection: if you don't hear from us for a few days, its most likely a technical issue.

Akuna Mattata!!!

Sent from Brendan Madden's mobile phone.

Kili blog

We just reached Barranca Camp on schedule, tired but in good form. Kili has tested us hard, but apart from some moderate altitude sickness we are doing very well.

We have been having trouble getting a strong enough connection to post pictures. Will keep trying, but if we don't get through, please no-one worry: it's most likely a technical problem. Akuna Mattata!

Sent from Brendan Madden's mobile phone.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kili blog

We made it! Camp 1: Machame camp at 10,000'. A tough but smooth first day. All climbers hale and hearty!

Kili blog

Climbing up through stunningly beautiful rainforest of Camphor, Beech, and Avocado trees

Kili blog

And we're off! Checking in at the Machame park gate

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


And we're off! Signing in at the park gate, then a brisk, 4,000' climb to our first camp!

#KiliTeam2017: Instructors Angus and Brendan

As the #KiliTeam2017 settles in and prepares to begin their climb of Mount Kilimanjaro, let us introduce you to the two instructors who will help lead them there.

Angus Murray is excited to be going back to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro! He first climbed the mountain in 2002 with Sarah Wiley, now Outward Bound Canada's Executive Director. Angus will be reunited with Brendan Madden as his co instructor; they first worked together in the 1990s at the Canadian Outward Bound Wilderness School. The #KiliTeam2017 is strong and he is looking forward to spending seven days on the mountain with them. Once again, he wishes to thank them for all their fundraising efforts! When he is not coordinating (or instructing) Reach Beyond Expeditions for Outward Bound Canada, he stays active in the outdoors with his wife Sarah and their eight-year-old son Hugh.

Brendan Madden is the Director of Learning and Adventure at Outward Bound Canada. Brendan has been leading educational expeditions for over 22 years. He passionately believes in the power of the wilderness journey to transform lives. Brendan is well-known in the field of adventure education, and regularly speaks at conferences and staff gatherings on the topics of risk management, field staff mental health, and success coaching. Notably, his first Outward Bound experience was in 1995, on a dogsledding expedition led by Angus Murray. This will be his first adventure in Africa: the fulfilment of a boyhood dream. Brendan loves the mountains and lives in the Canadian Rockies with his wife, two daughters, and a rambunctious dog.

Settling in

Team OBC Kilimanjaro 2017

Prep day practice hike

"One equal temper of heroic hearts"

A practice hike during our prep day, to check gear and systems before heading up the mountain tomorrow!

Kilemakyaro Lodge

We all arrived safe and sound at Kilemakyaro Lodge: all our bags even made it, despite a mad sprint through the Amsterdam airport for some. Ready for the adventure to begin!


We arrived last night after long flights (and, for some, a mad dash through the airport in Amsterdam). The group is all here (with bags, no less!) and sleeping in after a long travel. We'll post a group picture soon. We're eager to be off!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Our #KiliTeam2017 is on their way to Africa!

Our eight climber and two instructors are now all on their way to Tanzania to begin their journey to the top of Africa! Our previous post include an update from some of the team as they awaited their flight to Amsterdam, from where they will board a connecting flight to Tanzania.

We look forward to more updates from the field as #KiliTeam2017 gets settled in and prepared to start their climb up Mount Kilimanjaro.

Go team!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

#KiliTeam2017: Cathy

Mount Kilimanjaro has been the subject of many scientific studies because of its shrinking glaciers. Ice cores taken from Kilimanjaro's Northern Ice Field indicate that Kilimanjaro's glaciers have a "basal age" of 11,700 years. The slope glaciers retreated rapidly between 1912 and 1953, in response to a sudden shift in climate at the end of the 19th century that made them "drastically out of equilibrium", and more slowly thereafter. Their continuing demise indicates they are still out of equilibrium in response to a constant change in climate over the last 100 years.

Our final climber to be profile, Cathy will be one of the few people who will have an opportunity to see Kilimanjaro's glaciers up close.

"I grew up in and around Montreal, and have lived in Toronto since 1978  when I attended U of T Law.

Professionally, I was an environmental, land use and energy lawyer for 15 years or so.  I left legal practice to become a member of the Ontario Energy Board where I have worked part time since about 2000.

Now that my three daughters are grown, I spend the rest of my time on a variety of other interests - on the theory that it's never too late to do new things, in my 40s I started playing the piano, and training for and competing in triathlons.  I particularly enjoy cycling in Prince Edward County in the summer.

Over the years I have been involved in a number of community organizations including a term as president of the Canadian Environmental Law Association.  I am currently a member of the Board of Governors of the ROM Foundation.

I have spent many nights in tents as I worked as a Girl Guide camp leader for several summers and a few years did a two week rafting trip in the Grand Canyon.  I have done little serious hiking and no climbing. I'm doing the Kili climb as I love African adventures, enjoy doing physical outdoor activities and am up for a new challenge as I turn 60."

Our #KiliTeam2017 leave for Africa tomorrow - safe travels! You can follow along on their adventures right here on our blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

#KiliTeam2017: Michael

Ensuring climbers have enough water is key when climbing Kilimanjaro. To help, the incredible porters on route collect water from the rivers and streams along the trail. Some of this they will boil at the start of the day for climbers to carry in their water bottles. On the lower slopes climbers can collect water themselves from the many streams and purify it using a filter or tablets.

Outward Bound Canada is thrilled to have Michael McMillan as one of our #KiliTeam2017 climbers.

Michael co-founded and is CEO of Blue Ant Media, a Canadian-based media company. Blue Ant creates and distributes video content programming across a range of digital and traditional media platforms. It has offices in Toronto, London, Los Angeles and Auckland.

Michael is the co-founder and Chair of Samara Canada which is a non-partisan charity that is dedicated to reconnecting citizens to politics. Samara’s research and educational programming shines new light on Canada’s democratic system and encourages greater political participation across the country to build better politics and a better Canada, for everyone.

Michael is a co-founder and co-owner of Closson Chase Vineyards and Winery in Prince Edward Country, Ontario. It makes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.

Michael co-founded Atlantis Films Limited in 1978. In its early years, Atlantis was primarily a film and television production house, winning an Oscar in 1984 for its short film Boys and Girls.  In 1998 Atlantis acquired Alliance Communications in a reverse takeover and the company became Alliance Atlantis Communications. Under Michael’s continued leadership, as Chairman and CEO, the company operated 13 Canadian television networks and also distributed and produced movies and television programs including the hit series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In 2007, Michael retired from Alliance Atlantis after selling the company to Canwest Communications and Goldman Sachs.

A member of the Order of Canada, Michael has volunteered with numerous community and industry organizations over many years, and is currently involved with Open Roof Films, Human Rights Watch, Civix, and the Community Food Centres Canada, amongst other organizations. He is a Senior Fellow at Massey College and co-author of the best-selling book Tragedy in the Commons.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

#KiliTeam2017: Leah

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, Leah will be no less excited to climb Mount Kilimanjaro this year.

"In January 2017, I am finally going to see through a long-standing dream of mine. With perseverance and determination I will summit Kili – at 19,340 the world’s highest free-standing mountain! I had always thought that this would be something I did for myself, then I was re-introduced to Outward Bound Canada and I decided to use this opportunity to make this about something bigger than me.

I have decided I will take on this challenge to support Outward Bound Canada’s specialized charitable programs. The program that speaks most compellingly to me right now is the Women of Courage program, which gives women who have experienced physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse the opportunity to experience adventure – and healing – in the Canadian wilderness with other women who share a common history.  My personal motivation to embark on this journey in support of Women of Courage are the amazing women in my life both past and present. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such role models, along with support, love and ‘women power.’"

Read more about Leah's journey to the top of Kili in this Metro article and donate to her fundraising efforts on her Canada Helps page.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

#KiliTeam2017: Steve

Kilimanjaro is a giant stratovolcano that began forming a million years ago when lava spilled from the Rift Valley zone. The mountain was built by successive lava flows. Two of its three peaks—Mawenzi and Shira—are extinct while Kibo, the highest peak is dormant.

Steve Sims isn't intimidated by Kili's volcanic history. In fact, Steve's own history has seen him play a mountainous role in Outward Bound's development.

Steve's relationship with Outward Bound Canada began in the 1990s, when he was the accountant for what was then the Canadian Outward Bound Wilderness School. Since that time Steve has travelled the world seeking outdoor adventures.

Having always wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, when the opportunity arose to reconnect with Outward Bound Canada and climb Kilimanjaro, he couldn’t refuse! Steve is thrilled to be climbing Kili to support Outward Bound's charitable programs, and has set an ambitious fundraising goal.

To support Steve in his fundraising efforts, please visit his Canada Helps page.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

#KiliTeam2017: Rick

Mount Kilimanjaro is not a mountain you can climb on your own. In fact, it is made mandatory by the government that visitors wishing to summit Kili must climb with a licensed guide and have porters carry your equipment. This helps to sustain the local economy and allows local people to reap the rewards of tourism.

The professional career of our next climber would make him well-versed to provide further insight into the above requirements for visiting Kilimanjaro. 

Rick Byers is a business consultant, Board Member and adventurer, having completed a 33-year career in infrastructure finance and investment, government, and accounting. Rick began his career in accounting with Thorne Riddell/KPMG, then moved to Ottawa and worked for the Minister of Finance Hon. Michael Wilson. This was followed by sixteen years with BMO Capital Markets in public sector banking, and seven years with Borealis Infrastructure, the infrastructure arm of the OMERS Pension Plan. Rick currently sits on the Boards of the Toronto Transit Commission and PPP Canada Inc., and the Advisory Board of InstarAGF Asset Management Inc., as well as the Boards of Trinity College School and the True Patriot Love Foundation.

In January of this year, Rick joined a group of 8 Canadian soldiers and 18 civilians on the True Patriot Love expedition to climb Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica. Rick and his wife Margot are proud parents of three fine young men, and are looking forward to the expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro in January, 2017.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

#KiliTeam2017: Margot

The oldest person on record to have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro is 85-year-old great-grandmother, Anne Lorimore, who completed this personal challenge in August of 2015.

“I’ve wanted to do it for a long time,” said Anne, who resides in Paradise Valley, Arizona. “My niece and nephew were doing it, and I said, ‘Please, I want to go,’ and they said yes. So I put it down on my bucket list that by 2015, I was climbing Kilimanjaro.”

While our next climber will certainly not break the record for oldest individual to summit Kili, it will certainly be a huge accomplishment for her, given that she has never before climbed a mountain. Please meet Margot Byers!

"I am a landscape designer and horticulturist living in Beaver Valley with my husband of 30 years, Rick Byers, our dog Stella and cat Abby.  We have three sons in their 20s, with two living in Toronto and one in Kingston at Queen's University.  Before moving to Beaver Valley, we lived in Oakville for 20 years and Ottawa for 4 years.  My interests are plants, gardening, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, travelling, golfing, photography (not professional at all), cooking (and eating) and making maple syrup!

I have not climbed mountains before but am interested in Kilimanjaro because of the different plant zones we will be hiking through and the unique plants we will see. I am also looking forward to the safari that Rick and I will be doing after climbing Mount Kili."

To support Margot's fundraising efforts, please visit her Canada Helps page.

Friday, January 6, 2017

#KiliTeam2017: Rebecca

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, and the world’s highest freestanding mountain, rising approximately 4,877 metres from its base to 5,895 metres (19, 340 ft) above sea level. It is also known as "Everyman's Everest" due to the fact that it is the most achievable of the "Seven Summits" (the highest points on each of the world's continents) and no technical climbing skills are required. Climbing Kilimanjaro is no easy feat, but with training, respect for the mountain, and knowledge of altitude, it is possible for many to summit this incredible peak.

Our next climber is Rebecca, who be be celebrating her 64th birthday during her Reach Beyond Expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro! Why is Rebecca climbing Kili? Let's let her tell us in her own words:

"I was a serious youngster, born and raised in Hong Kong.  In 1972 I decided to study accounting in university. I am an accountant who was never active nor sportive until my late middle age. So call me crazy (which would be accurate), or call me courageous (which would be accurate too)!  Yes I will be hiking to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in January 2017 with the Outward Bound Canada's expedition team.

Why am I taking this challenge and stepping outside of my comfort zone at this age? (I turn 64 while in Tanzania next January!) I like to use quotes because they express the feelings and thoughts so well."

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." - George Bernard Shaw

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw

 "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not loves. " - Henry David Thoreau

"This is important to me because I believe in living with courage. Courage is both the emotional and mental preparedness and the ability to deal with challenging and difficult circumstances. This skill can be developed. To live with courage does not mean we have no fear. Take the quote from the legendary John Wayne: 'Courage is being scared to death -- and saddling up anyway.' One more of my favourite quotes:"

"I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." - George Bernard Shaw

To support Rebecca in her fundraising efforts, please visit her Canada Helps page.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

#KiliTeam2017: Lori

On Sunday, January 15, our 2017 Reach Beyond: Mount Kilimanjaro team will be departing Toronto and heading for Tanzania in preparation for their trek to the top of the mountain - a trek that will surely offer the adventure of a lifetime.

You'll be able to get updates on the team's progress here on the blog but, in the meantime, we thought we'd introduce you some of this year's #KiliTeam2017 climbers.

Lori is a member of Outward Bound Canada's board of directors and a strong believer in and supporter of the organization's mission. For Lori, climbing Kili is not only a personal challenge but a way to help provide life-changing opportunities to others who need them most.

"I believe that we are all here for a purpose. Some will move mountains. Some will be the foundational rocks for others.

I love my life of adventure, learning & evolving. I am exceptionally fortunate to have found my real passion in life while sitting on a mountain top in Sillustani, Peru. I love to bring value to other people’s lives, whether that’s through coaching, team work, sharing my love of photography or just being there for my friends and family. As a business executive, I know how impactful it is when teams work well together. As a mom, I know how critical self-confidence is to everything that my children do. As an executive coach, I know how important confidence & a real understanding of personal values is to being the best person we can each be.

My hope for climbing Kili as part of the OBC Reach Beyond team is that we can collectively give more people opportunities to reconnect to their personal values, rebuild their confidence so that they can lead the life they love."

Check out Lori's fundraising page and support her climb at Canada Helps.