10-year-old Sam Irving of Claygate in Surrey hopes to become one of the youngest people ever to climb the 19,341 feet of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise £25,000 for the Haller Foundation, which boosts the economies of poor, smallholder farmers who live on inhospitable land. T
he money will be used to provide safe drinking water, sanitation and irrigation for a remote village in Kenya. Climbers will pay their own costs, so all the money will go to the charity. The expedition has been organised by Sam’s mother, Ros.
Sam, a pupil of Milbourne Lodge School, will walk for eight or even more hours a day bearing supplies.
Sam has undertaken long walks as training, for instance the 14-mile Marsden March in March of this year. This runs between the Royal Marsden’s hospitals in Chelsea and Sutton. He also regularly goes running with his mother. He has baked cakes, washed cars and produced a newsletter in aid of the venture.
Sam has always been interested in climbing and dreams of one day conquering Everest. He recently met his hero, the explorer, David Hempleman-Adams, and asked him for advice. The reply was “Don’t do it.” Sam doesn’t know whether this was a joke.
The youngest person ever to reach Kilimanjaro’s summit was seven-year-old Keats Boyd of Los Angeles in 2008. In addition to breaking a record, he broke the rule that climbers have to be at least 10 years old. On a good day, you can see more of the world from Kili’s snowclad peaks than from Everest.