Spencer West atop Mt Kilimanjaro. Image via YouTube screenshot.
There’s something about Mt Kilimanjaro that attracts out of the ordinary climbers. To summit the tallest peak in Africa doesn’t require any expert skills, but demands excellent fitness, inviting attempts that add extra elements to the basic goal of getting to the top. In February, a team of barefoot trekkers climbed Kilimanjaro. This week, Canadian Spencer West took things a “step” further, reaching the summit, without legs.
West, 31, who lost his legs at the age of 5, spent a year training for the attempt, reported MSNBC. He climbed 80% of the 19,341 feet propelling himself using only his arms;, using a wheelchair at some points. While the challenge was certainly a personal one for West, he (and the two friends he did it with) didn’t take it on for personal glory alone.
The climb, dubbed “Redefine Possible“, was actually a fund-raising event for Free the Children, a charity that promotes education in Africa. Considering that the team raised more than half a million dollars, it was a success all around.
On the “Redefine Possible” blog, West wrote:
Then it sunk in. We made it. To the top of the mountain. The mountain that I promised to the world I would climb. The bleeding fingers and blisters were all worth it. I looked at the guys, my two buddies who dreamed up this crazy plan with me, and realized we actually finished what we started.
Videos of the whole climb can be found on the Free the Children YouTube page, this one conveys the effort and toughness that went into the moments before the West and his friends David and Alex reached the peak of Africa.