In an interview with TVweek, Ann Curry, Today show host, discussed her recent trip to Kilimanjaro. She and her production crew attempted to climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro as part of the show’s ‘Ends of the Earth’ series. But she was turned around at about 16,000 feet due to altitude sickness.
Currently, Curry is recovering from amoeba that she got from bad drinking water. In the interview, she reveals how sick she and her crew were during the trek. She reported having a headache “from the top of my skull to the back”, being nauseated, having swollen legs, hands and face, being bloated, hallucinating, and having a chest cold. Curry said that, “Every moment we had was suffering” and that, “We were in bad shape.”
While 80% of climbers do experience symptoms of altitude sickness, Curry’s collection of symptoms were more serious than typical. In my opinion, she shouldn’t have been on the mountain in the first place. Curry states, “We climbed with little or no training, certainly with no expertise, trying to do something that had never been done before, and I’ve got to tell you we were all heart. That’s all we had.” Well, climbing when you should be descending is not heroic. It’s idiotic. Furthermore, she talks about her Walmart raingear malfunctioning and getting blisters coming from wearing boots she didn’t break in. In other words, she was woefully unprepared.
Curry noted that she was supposed to go to the Great Barrier Reef for her show, but did not because they could not get a live signal there, so they went to Kilimanjaro instead. This decision occurred three weeks before her departure. Complicating the matter, she attempted to climb the most dangerous route during the rainy season.
Kilimanjaro is known as a “beginner’s” mountain, because it requires no technical skills and is a ‘walkable’ mountain. However, it is not to be underestimated. 19,345 feet is an extremely high altitude. Kilimanjaro claims lives every year. All climbers need to prepare and outfit themselves adequately for the journey. Curry’s tale is an example of how not to climb Kilimanjaro.