13 year old twins, Georgina and Alastair Revell, became the youngest British twins to summit Kili and in the process raised £20,000 for the charity of their choice.
The adventurous 13 year old twins from Hook headed off to Africa to climb the 5,893 metres-above-sea-level peak with their mum Anne-Marie. “We decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro as a new year’s resolution. I wanted to show my children that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.” They reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro on Sunday 8:10 am, 23rd August, after 7 days of trekking and their fair share of challenges.
On 1st January, I posted a very brief but inspirational video by Nick Vujicic (which if you haven’t watched yet, you really should do!) with the following comment:
Thinking about those New Year resolutions we all make and fail to keep … perhaps the above video will inspire us to try just that little bit harder…
So, here are a pair of twins and their mother who made a new year’s resolution and completed it in August of the same year. Not only that but they raised the money they set out to raise for The Afghan Connection. Their mother has been a longterm supporter of The Rainbow Trust.
Dr Sarah Fane of the Afghan Connection said: “We love fundraising projects like these where children from the UK take the initiative to help children in Afghanistan. It brings great hope and encouragement as well as help to children living in very difficult circumstances.”
Other twins have also challenged Kilimanjaro.
Kaylee and Matt Moniz, from Boulder Colorado were 10-years old when they summited Kilimanjaro. They and their family had trained all winter prior to the challenge. Their regime included hikes in the foothills and weekends spent at higher elevations to better acclimatise for the top of Kilimanjaro.
The hardest part of the ascent was June 20, the day they reached the summit, Kaylee said. “I was kind of tired, but the view was really beautiful.” Her brother agreed, “You could see the whole world from the top.”
The two donated money and clothing to an orphanage in Moshi, a town near the mountain. “It’s what they wanted to do for their birthdays,” Dee Moniz said. “Give to the kids of Tanzania.”
Matt had already climbed Mount Elbrus in Russia with his father and had also climbed to Everest’s base camp. His goal is to climb all of the 7 – or maybe 8 – highest summits around the world. Kaylee is keen to head to Nepal next… more on them later.
Previously, Kilimanjaro had had an age limit of 10 years old for those attempting the summit, but if children have already been exposed to mountain trekking their request for permission to climb will be considered…
Joanne Soo, 44, manager of outdoor adventure company Ace Adventure in Singapore, says more parents are taking their kids as young as six years old on mountain treks in foreign lands.
“These parents are more informed and willing to let their kids try out new things,” she says. She has been organising trekking trips for 10 years and was part of the six-woman team that scaled Mount Everest in May last year.
Not all parents baulk at the idea of exposing their children to extreme weather conditions and possible altitude sickness.
Entrepreneur Subramanian Subbiah’s eight-year-old twins, Jagan and Daven, trekked 5,681m upto Gillman’s Point, one of the summits of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in March 2009 at the age of 7! They are among the youngest climbers to reach one of Kilimanjaro’s summits, according to a Tanzanian-based tour agency.
PHOTO: courtesy of SUBRAMANIAN SUBBIAH
Jagan says he loves mountain trekking because of the “walking and the chance to see plants, animals and a lot of snow”. Jagan and Daven definitely left an impression on Zara Tours’ chief guide Godlisten Mkonyi, who says: “I remember them very well because they were talking a lot and laughing.” The guide says the twins would have been able to reach an even higher summit if their path had not been blocked by “snow that was taller than them”.
Mr Mohammad Yassin, operational manager of Tanzania-based Zara Tours which led Mr Subbiah’s group, says it is rare for children to go up the mountain. About half of his clients are between 20 and 40 years old. Thirty per cent are above age 10 and the rest are above 40.
On 21st January 2008 Keats Boyd from Los Angeles became the first seven-year-old to summit Africa’s highest mountain – and in doing so, became the youngest person ever to reach the top of Kilimanjaro – at the time.
The youngest person to climb Kilimanjaro who was above the minimum age was Jordan Romero of Big Bear Lake, California who was ten years and 11 days old. He has since conquered all 7 Summits and in preparation now for the 8th… He is still only 13.
Stressing the importance of preparing well for a trek, Ace Adventure’s Ms Soo says “anyone at any age can climb a mountain” if precautions are taken. She says parents need not start their children on mountain trekking from a very young age. “The experience of climbing a mountain can be fulfilling but also extremely bad,” she says. “The motivation to scale a mountain must be from the child, not a feat to satisfy the parent’s ego.”
And whilst we’re on the subject of record breakers we will, while we’re talking about Kilimanjaro, tell you about the 2 oldest people to have conquered the mountain.
Last year, in the summer of 2010, George Solt, a retired professor from Olney in Buckinghamshire, became the oldest man to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, at the age of 82. He took a total of 8 days to reach the summit and descend again, and was accompanied on his climb by five members of his family, including grandchildren Sam, 16, Zoe, 15 and Eva, 12.
“I don’t think anyone expects someone of my age to be climbing Kilimanjaro but I’m fit and healthy so why not?” he said. He did the climb in memory of his wife, Jen, who died in 2009. They used to love mountaineering together.
Also in 2010, this time in September, 83-year-old Bernice Buum summited Kilimanjaro, and in doing so became, not only the oldest woman to get to the summit but the oldest accredited person ever. Ms Buum was accompanied by her niece and long-time trekking companion Judy Myers and took six days to complete the trek – four up, two down. She began her training by climbing the 10 flights of stairs at the Rapid City Regional Hospital where she volunteers and described her experience as the “… the adventure of a lifetime. I think that was the ultimate” – but once was enough! However, she will continue to hike around the US and near her home.
Bernice Buum is a slim and fit 83-year old. She has backpacked the Centennial Trail several times, climbed Mount Rainier in Washington state and Pikes Peak in Colorado. She hiked into the Grand Canyon and backpacked into the Big Horn Mountains and the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming.
Buum’s son, Tim, wasn’t surprised his mother succeeded. She has been an inspiration for years, he said. “She’s always been active, although this has gone to a degree I hadn’t anticipated. She’s been a hero in our family for a long time.”
Below is a very good video which shows the Machame ascent to Uhuru Peak – sometimes known as the Whisky Route. It might inspire you to give it a go too!