Beginning Saturday, January 6, RYOT co-founder Bryn Mooser joined other cultural influencers on an ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for the global clean water crisis as part of Summit on the Summit, led and organized by grammy-nominated artist and philanthropist, Kenna. Other climbers include musician Mark Foster, photographer Chase Jarvis and actor Justin Chatwin.
In addition to following all the climbers at www.summitonthesummit.com, you can find exclusive updates from Bryn right here on RYOT. This story will be updated with Bryn’s daily journal, as well as photos he takes along the way, hopefully ending with a beautiful shot of a RYOT flag flying atop the worlds highest, free-standing mountain.
Check back daily for updates!
1/11/2013 – THEY MADE IT!
1/10/2013 – Almost there!
Today the climbers hiked through the Karanga Valley and had up close views of the mountains southern glaciers. No Bryn-isms to share today, just pictures. Tomorrow is a critical day because they will be reaching the top of Kilimanjaro!
1/9/2013 – Spirits remain high despite altitude sickness setting in
Woke up this morning in a valley in the shadow of Kilimanjaro. I was up at 5 a.m. and crawled out of my tent to watch the sun slowly break over the snowy peak. It seems impossibly far away. Altitude sickness has affected most of us, but spirits are still high. We climbed for a short 5 hours and got to camp and crashed. The altitude makes everything difficult. On the walk up today I passed two climbers throwing up and a few others sitting on rocks and breathing heavy. We pushed on. We descended to 13,000 feet in order to acclimatize. Tomorrow at day break, we head to 16,000 feet to sleep for the night. Then at midnight, we begin the 12 hour hike to the summit. I’m feeling strong and ready for the climb. Africa has been my home so many times growing up and I’m about to make the highest point on the continent a RYOT flag. Stoked!
1/8/2013 – Despite headaches and fatigue, Bryn trudges onward
Day 3 was brutal. We awoke at 5:30 a.m. at an elevation of 9,000 feet and climbed to 15,000 feet. 12 hours of non stop climbing, mostly up forgotten lava fields.
At 15,000 feet breathing is hard and your head bangs hard. The morning was an easy hike through stunning fields that looked like Joshua Tree. It was so great to be in the middle of nowhere without the interruption of cell phones or Instagram. I spent most of the morning blasting Sigur Ros and day dreaming. Then it got really tough. The trick is to just take one step at a time and that works okay. But there were moments when I questioned the decision to take on this crazy task. My spirits were lifted by Justin and Mark and our porter friends, Ankle, Pistachio and John.
It’s 7 p.m. now and I’m hoping to sleep, although this headache won’t stop. Two more days until summit and I’m still stoked if maybe a little more apprehensive then before.
1/7/2013 – Cold, altitude slow down climbers
It’s cold right now at 10,000 feet. We are just getting to camp and the sun has set. We are almost two miles up and in the shadow of the snowy peak. Today we hiked for 6 hours through muddy forest and into what looked like a hobbit’s shire. The group is moving much slower today as the first effects of altitude have kicked in — headaches and fatigue. It’s not so easy to write this. We can see the summit from here and it’s really far. There are still 6 more days to go. Each day from here on out we are hiking 8 to 12 hours. It’s grueling, but beautiful. I’ve got a good posse consisting of Justin Chatwin and Mark Foster. We keep our spirits high with lots of pranks and juvenile jokes. Its 7 p.m. and I’m exhausted. We have to get moving early at day break as we start heading to the summit.
1/6/2013 – Climbers begin ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Day one on the mountain was a muddy slog through the jungle. We set off at day break and drove to the trailhead. It was a beautiful drive through rural villages and rolling fields of coffee and tea. Fog and cooking smoke hung heavy above the huts. Kids chased goats and chickens. At the trailhead we were met by our team of porters . We are 26 climbers and we are traveling with 135 porters. They are good natured jokesters who are amazing to watch climb. We are each carrying our own backpacks which are heavier then I had imagined.
It has been raining for the last 7 days so the trail is muddy and slick. We hiked for six hours and arrived at camp dead tired. There are more stars then I’ve seen in a long time. Satellites track across the sky and Venus burns bright. My feet hurt and the altitude is making my head bang but, I’m happy and feeling so damn blessed to be climbing to the roof of Africa.
1/5/2013 – Summit on the Summit climbers visit market for supplies
Today we stormed the Arusha market trying to get all our supplies before we begin our climb early tomorrow morning. The Arusha local market is a pretty damn good African Market. It’s never boring and has all the ingredients: hustlers, pimps, piles of tomatoes and drying fish and used clothes. Markets in Africa are a roller-coaster ride. Smells change frequently and you must stay on your toes to dodge pickpockets and wheelbarrows. I found a man who painted barbershop signs but he wasn’t there — only a drunken cousin and a bottle of gin. I bought some trinkets and a cold Coke in a glass bottle. Nothing beats Coca Cola in Africa. Heading to bed early tonight for tomorrow the climb begins.
1/4/2013 – Bryn visits village, helps sanitize water
We left the town of Arusha and headed towards the Great Rift Valley. Summit on the Summit has been working with Proctor and Gamble to bring clean water to a small village on the edge of nowhere called Mswakini. We drove a few kilometers off the main road and came upon a dusty, Maasai village.
As we arrived, chickens and goats scattered and some small children ambled towards our cars. Justin made a quick game of chasing kids until they couldn’t stop laughing or couldn’t stop crying. The village is using Proctor and Gamble powder to clean their water. Brown water turns clear. Pretty impressive, but I couldn’t help thinking that the villagers must be in shock seeing a magic white man clean their water.
The day was hot and dusty. On the ride home, we sat on the roof of the Land Rover in the shadow of Kilimanjaro, dodging low-hanging branches and power lines. Feels great to be back home in Africa.
1/3/2013 – Bryn lands in Africa
Just landed an Kilimanjaro International Airport. Twenty-four hours on a KLM plane to get here isn’t easy. I’m here as part of the Summit on the Summit, a two week expedition to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, bringing young leaders from different fields up the mountain to raise awareness for water issues around the world. Among those joining me are Justin Chatwin, Kenna, Beau Garrett and Mark Foster from Foster the People.
Stepping out of the canned air of the Dutch plane into the warm, Tanzanian air felt divine. There is nothing like the smell of Africa. That sweet, sticky smell of diesel fumes, roasted goat, sweat and life. There was a typical welcome at the airport of drummers and dancers. Mark Foster and I joined them and played the marimba. Back in Africa and feeling great. Excited for the hike up Kilimanjaro. Follow RYOT for more info and follow the hike live at www.summitomthesummit.com. You can win prizes and even an all expense paid hike up to Kilimanjaro!
RYOT NOTE: We’re so stoked Bryn is representing RYOT and taking on this mountain! Check back often to follow his progress and leave comments to cheer him on. You can follow all the climbers, discover ways to get involved from home and even win prizes by visting Summit on the Summit’s website. Just click on the gray box alongside this story to check out all the action.