We often receive messages from clients that are worried about if they are physically fit enough to be able to make it to the top of Kilimanjaro. True, Kilimanjaro isn’t for everyone, but for most people, the toughest part is maintaining the will and focus required to make it to the summit after days of hiking.
Nothing better illustrates that mind over matter concept than the amazing story of Kyle Maynard, an American born without arms or legs, who successfully summited Kilimanjaro on his elbows and knees.
To prepare for the climb, he trained at a series of locations around the US, including Stone Mountain in Georgia, Winter Park in Colorado, and Camelback Mountain in Arizona, testing and developing equipment that included welding sleeves and rubber bicycle tires attached to his body with heavy-duty tape. Soon, an organization called Orthotic Specialists got involved, and the owners created custom equipment with Vibram soles, based on molds of Maynard’s arms and legs.
The climb, intended to raise awareness for wounded American military veterans, included a team consisting of former members of the U.S. military with injuries and conditions including shrapnel wounds, post-traumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury. The mission also donated $25,000 worth of medical supplies to the Mwereni Integrated School for the Blind in Moshi, Tanzania. Guided by Kevin Cherilla of K2 Adventures Foundation, the group began their climb on January 6, 2012, with 16 days allotted for the climb (as opposed to the usual six to eight days it takes a person with legs).Wikipedia
Kyle is an entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker who, among other topics, teaches others how to live a life of “no excuses”. He has spread his message of “know your limits, but never stop trying to break them” across five continents by giving over 900 speeches to governments, schools, and companies.
Update (08/2016): Kyle has gone on to also summit Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua, and is now featured in a Nike ad (which, fittingly, features him climbing). Watch it here.