Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cool Surprise!

While attending the Lion's International Convention in Toronto, Canada, I stayed at the Fairmont, a beautiful hotel.  Imagine my surprise when I saw the picture below.  Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to summit Mt. Everest signed in as a guest at the same hotel!!  Very cool! 

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

2 Dead, 7 Missing After Mt. Everest Avalanche

By Ed Payne, Manesh Shrestha and Dave Alsup, CNN
updated 1:35 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Climbers and guides were preparing for the spring climbing season.
Climbers and guides were preparing for the spring climbing season.
  • The deadliest year on Mt. Everest was 1996, when 15 people died
  • More than 300 climbers have been given permission to tackle Everest this spring
  • About 400 Sherpas will help them
  • Climbers and guides had been preparing the route to the summit
(CNN) -- Two Sherpa guides were killed and seven others were missing Friday after a high-altitude avalanche on Mt. Everest, officials said.

A group of about 50 people, mostly Nepali Sherpas, were hit by the avalanche at more than 20,000 feet, according to Tilak Ram Pandey, with the mountaineering department of the tourism ministry.
The avalanche took place just above base camp in the Khumbu Ice Fall.

The climbers were accounted for, Pandey said. "Rescue teams have gone ... to look for the missing."

Readying for climb
Between May 15 and 30 is usually the best window for reaching 29,028 foot peak.
Climbers and guides had been setting the ropes for the route, acclimating to the climate, and preparing the camps along the route, said Janow.

Climbers arrive in April to acclimate to the altitude before heading toward the summit of the world's highest mountain.

Ethnic Sherpas acts as guides for the mostly-foreign clients.

Busiest season
The spring climbing season is the busiest of the year.
Some 334 foreign climbers have been given permission to climb Everest over the next couple of months, with an estimated 400 Sherpas helping them, mountaineering official Dipendra Poudel said.
Until the late 1970s, only a handful of climbers reached the top each year. The number topped 100 for the first time in 1993. By 2004, it was more than 300. In 2012, the number was more than 500.
The deadliest year on Everest was 1996, when 15 people died. Another 12 climbers were killed in 2006.

For more information about the Summit Murder Mystery series, CLICK HERE 
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Volcano Climber from Denham Edging Closer to Record

Bucks Free Press: Volcano climber edging closer to record Volcano climber edging closer to record 
A WORLD-RECORD chasing Bucks woman has just finished climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro as she edges closer to the overall finish-line.

Sophie Cairns, is attempting to climb seven volcanoes in just four months, in memory of her late father.

It is the second time she has reached the summit of Africa’s highest peak, after also scaling all 5,895m in 2009.

She said: “I’m not sure if I was dizzy with exhaustion or happiness, but it was fantastic to reach the top.

“All this in memory of my father – all donations go towards a cure for oesophageal cancer.”

Sophie, 35, from Denham, is hoping to climb the highest volcano on every continent in just four months.

Originally from Hong Kong, Sophie has got just two more volcanoes to climb and has until April 28 to finish, if she wants to do it in four months, which would slash the previous record of a year.

For more information about the Summit Murder Mystery series, CLICK HERE 
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Welcome to all the new people stopping by the blog!  It's been a while since I've shared my Summit Murder Mystery series video and so I thought I would do that.  Take a look below!  Get lost in the climb...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

9 & 11 Year Old Girls Summit Mt. Kilimanjaro

Hi Everyone!  Thank you for reading my blog!  Did you know that I'm the author of not just one, but thirteen books?  For more information, please visit, and/or

9 & 11 Year Old American Girls Summit Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa With She Climbs

TANZANIA, AFRICA-- Helen Simons "HS" Berenyi, 9 year old Silverton, CO resident
 and Alexis "Lexi" Peats of Perrysburg, OH summited Mt. Kilimanjaro on January 10th, 2014
 at 10:08 am, Tanzanian time. HS and Lexi were 2 of 4 climbers who successfully summited with She Climbs, a non-profit organization whose mission is to build and strengthen the self-esteem of female individuals of all ages, one mountain climb at a time. This is both girls' first time climbing and living on a mountain for 7 days. Lexi Peats said shortly after the summit, "I learned that if I try hard enough, I can do anything!"

While fact checking is still underway, it appears that the girls are the youngest in their respective home states of CO and OH to ever summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak on the African continent, topping out at 5895 meters or 19,340 feet above sea level. Berenyi may be the youngest American female to summit the mountain, one of the famous "Seven Summits" of the world.
Both girls climbed with their mothers, Suzanne Peats and Cokie Berenyi both of Perrysburg and Silverton, respectively.

"These two are amongst the youngest kids in my 371 summits of Kilimanjaro," said Lead Climbing Guide, "Raj" Rajabu Hasan of KCB, a local Tanzanian climbing outfitter. "They were strong from the first day to the last day, with no signs of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). The girls made it to the summit in 7 1/2 hours. Some of my climbers have taken 12 hours in the past," said Hasan.

Dubbed the "Binti Group" by Hasan, (Binti in Swahili means daughter), the girls are amongst She Climbs' first organized trip. "As we launch She Climbs it only seemed natural that we form mother-daughter teams from my personal sphere of climbers that I have previously climbed with," said Cokie Berenyi, founder of She Climbs and investment firm, Despite this being She Climbs' first trip, the organization and mission have been evolving since 2006 shortly after Berenyi gave birth to her second daughter. "As a new mother of 2 girls I was terrified of all that could go wrong with raising girls. It was very clear to me that the key to successfully raising them was to do everything I could to build their self-esteem and confidence -- this was when the idea of She Climbs was born."

Cokie first summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2010, which served as She Climbs research effort.
"Reaching summits of this altitude require great focus, determination and persistence and the personal satisfaction of reaching the top is intoxicating and motivating. It is a great environment to test your mental and physical limits and grow your confidence, all of which can be a powerful tool in navigating life. Climbing is an excellent venue to achieve the goals of She Climbs," comments Suzanne Peats or "Mama Lexi" to the Trip Guides and Tanzanian support team.
Mandy Ramsden, Johannesburg, South Africa resident, helped in organizing the successful Kilimanjaro summit trip. Ramsden is South Africa's first woman to summit the "7 Summits" of the world and serves on She Climbs' Advisory Board. "I really believe that Kili, its hardships, its beauty and its summit were hugely empowering to enable me to make the changes I needed to make to live the life I wanted to live. It is a real privilege to pass that empowerment on to other women and girls," said Ramsden.

Sheldon Kerr, a Colorado resident, and professional mountain guide who actively guides on Kilimanjaro, Denali and in the Cascades also assisted in the trip's organization. Kerr also serves on She Climbs' Board. "I knew the girls could do it. The key was whether or not they wanted the summit bad enough. Clearly they did!" Kerr said.

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Monday, December 30, 2013

9 Year Old Becomes Youngest to Summit Mt. Aconcagua

Here is an update to a previously posted blog post!

California Boy, Youngest Climber Ever To Summit Western Hemisphere’s Tallest Mountain

While many of his friends celebrated the holidays with friends and family at home, 9-year-old Tyler Armstrong made history, becoming the youngest climber ever to reach the summit of the tallest peak in the Western hemisphere.

Various leading Argentinean media outlets reported that the Yorba Linda, California native reached the summit of Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina on Christmas, along with his father, Kevin, 30, and their guide Lhawang Dhondup, 50.

It was confirmed, Friday, in a Facebook post on a page dedicated to Armstrong's climbs that they had reached the summit on Christmas Eve.

"HUGE UPDATE: We are extremely proud and excited to officially announce that Tyler Armstrong has in fact broken the ACONCAGUA RECORD!!!! He was able to summit on Christmas Eve (December 24th)," the post read. "GO TYLER!!! Stand by for some awesome pics!"

Located near the Argentina-Chile border, at 22,837 ft. high, Aconcagua is considered one of the classic climbs for serious mountain climbers and is one of the famed "Seven Summits" – the highest mountains on each of the globe's seven continents.

According to Facebook, the young climber started his trek along the Rio de Las Vacas, in Mendoza, Argentina, after receiving permission from the local government to launch the effort.

The country only permits those 18 years or older to climb to the peak. According to Argentinean newspaper Clarin, the country’s secretary of the environment initially denied giving Armstrong the permit, but his father was able to show that his son is an experienced climber despite his young age.
The young Armstrong has already notched impressive climbs, including the highest peak in the contiguous United States, Mt. Whitney, and Africa’s highest summit, Mt. Kilimanjaro.

"It takes lots and lots of training," the boy told ABC News before his climb. "I had to do ice-climbing training, so if I fall I can stop myself and not slide down the mountain. We're really working on my abs a lot. All the weight from my backpack and all the stuff that I'm carrying goes where your abs are."

Updates of his trek were provided on Facebook, including the team reaching base camp at 14,300 feet and reaching "camp two" at 17,000 feet.

Although he was scheduled to climb to the summit between Dec. 26 and Dec. 29, a Facebook update said they decided to finish the climb to the peak due to inclement weather.

According to Clarin, an Argentinean government official confirmed that once the team made it to the summit, it began the descent down the mountain in good health. The official said the team is expected to reach home base between Friday and Saturday.

With his successful climb, Armstrong became the youngest to reach the summit of Arconcagua. The previous record holder was Matthew Moniz of Boulder, Colorado, who was 10 years old when he reached the summit on Dec. 16, 2008.

While Arconcagua is considered an easy climb compared to other nearby Karakorum peaks, it does not mean that it is safe. High altitude sickness and quick weather changes can cause frostbite and even death.

Armstrong took the easiest ascent trail – the Polish Glacier Traverse Route – which actually claimed the lives of five climbers in January 2009.

While this climb is a huge personal accomplishment for the boy, he is also trying to raise funds and awareness for the organization Cure Duchenne, which looks to find a cure for a form of muscular dystrophy that affects 300,000 boys worldwide.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Top 10 Facts About Mt. Kilimanjaro

If you’re considering taking on the challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, there are a few interesting facts you should know about the peak - we’ve compiled a list of our favourites. Hopefully they’ll prove inspiring and will help you on your way to the Roof of Africa.

1. There’s more than one way up
Yes, that’s right, there are, in fact, six routes to the summit of Kilimanjaro and two different trails leading back down. The ascent paths are Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe, Machame and Marangu, while coming down you can follow either Machame or Mweka.

2. Kilimanjaro is a volcano
Although it’s often called a mountain, Kilimanjaro is actually a volcano and it has three cones. The largest is Kibo - with the highest point on its crater rim - as well as Mawenzi and Shira. The latter two are extinct, but Kibo is classed as dormant and could, therefore, erupt again.

3. It’s the highest freestanding peak in the world
As well as having the honour of being Africa’s tallest mountain, Kilimanjaro is also the tallest freestanding summit in the world - its highest point is 5,895 m above sea level.

4. Successful ascents…
Of the thousands of tourists who attempt to climb Kilimanjaro each year, only around 50 per cent are successful. This is due to a variety of factors, but one thing to bear in mind is that the longer your route, the more likely you are to make it to the top.

5. There are five ecosystems on Kili
As you trek up Kilimanjaro, you’ll pass through five distinct ecosystems, beginning in a cultivated belt of farmland and ending with an alpine desert. In between you’ve got the rainforest, heath land and moorland. All of this means your ascent will be incredibly varied in terms of the landscapes you pass through and the flora and fauna you come across.

6. Kilimanjaro’s glaciers are shrinking
The ice caps on Kilimanjaro’s highest slopes have diminished considerably in the last 100 years, with these glaciers having lost approximately 80 per cent of their mass since 1912.

7. It was first climbed in 1889
October 1889 was when the first successful attempt to reach Kilimanjaro’s summit was recorded, with German geologist Hans Meyer and Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller making it to the rim of Kibo crater after six weeks of climbing. It wasn’t until 1909 that the feat was repeated.

8. Fastest ascent
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the fastest ascent of Kilimanjaro is an incredible five hours, 26 minutes and 40 seconds. This time was set by Frenchman Gerard Bavato in 2007. Equally impressive is Simon Mtuy’s record for the fastest unsupported ascent and descent of the mountain, with the Tanzanian completing the route in nine hours, 21 minutes and 47 seconds back in 2006.

9. Oldest and youngest
The oldest man to successfully reach Kilimanjaro’s summit is Richard Byerley, who achieved the feat at the ripe old age of 84 years and 71 days. At the other end of the scale, the youngest person to make it to the Roof of Africa is seven year old Aaryan Balaji from India. He completed the climb in February 2013.

10. Share your experiences
At the top of the mountain is a wooden box that contains a book. Within its pages are notes written by the thousands of people who have successfully made the climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro. You can add your thoughts on the experience and become part of the mountain’s history.