Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Chris Waddell Making Summit Push on Kilimanjaro
Paraplegic athlete Chris Waddell is making his summit push on Kilimanjaro today, and we could get confirmation of his summit at any time. If successful, he'll become the first person to reach the top of Africa's tallest mountain without the use of his legs.
Reading Chris' blog gives some details on what the climb has been like for him so far. He is using a specially designed cart, that he pedals with is hands, to pull himself up the mountain. The little buggy is called the Bomba, and its over sized tires allow him to maneuver over and around large rocks, using his own strength to continue his progress.
In his most recent update, Chris said that the team was camped at 18,000 feet, meaning that today he should make the long crawl to the summit, which is located at 19,340 feet. He'll be dealing with snow and ice, lots of rock scree, and a difficult incline as well, not to mention the thin air up there.
When I first heard about his plans nearly a year ago, I couldn't see how he, or anyone, could go up Kili on a wheeled cart like the Bomba. But Chris is proving me wrong, and it looks like there is a great chance that he will achieve this goal. Keep watching his blog for updates, as I expect photos and news anytime today.
Update: Looks like the summit won't happen until tomorrow. Chris and his team intend to camp in the crater tonight and make their way the remaining distance to the top in the morning. You can read the latest dispatch here.