7summits forum!

7 summits and other mountain stuff => News => Topic started by: sevenhighestpeaks on Jun 27 2005, 03:22

Post by: sevenhighestpeaks on Jun 27 2005, 03:22
Visit the website for the authority on Kilimanjaro speed climbing, Team Kilimanjaro http://www.teamkilimanjaro.com/speedclimbs.html
Rebecca Rees-Evans of Team Kilimanjaro set the first female speed climbing record in history on Kilimanjaro.  Brief report, summit photo, and impressive time-verification data at www.mountainspeedclimbing.org.
The US's Sean Burch recently reported setting a new ascent record on 6/7/05 with 5:28:48sec on the long route The Marangu Route (20+mi each way, 15,000' each way).
The Guardian did this article:
However in the article there is a major error: Burch did not beat Italy's Brunod Brunod's ASCENT-DESCENT record.  Brunod went 8:34:52 sec ROUND-TRIP, not oneway as The Guardian reports. 
Burch did, though, beat Brunod's ascent split-time by about ten minutes.  However, Brunod kept going for the ramining 20+ miles back to the basecamp, whereas Burch stopped.
Many press articles used The Guardian as their source thereby perpetuating this error.

Sean Burch has his own news article on his website and written by him: http://www.seanburch.com/

Of note is Burch's mention of having "time-verification".  Team Kilimanjaro and Dan Howitt of USA Mountain Speed Climbing are working to gather the information about this.  See www.mountainspeedclimbing.org for updates.  So far after 3 weeks of active inquiry by Team Kilimanjaro and Dan Howitt and USA Mountain Speed Climbing no specific time verifiction information has been provided by Burch and no specific information has been available from the relevant Kilimanjaro park authorities that Burch referred various people to.
Post by: sevenhighestpeaks on Jul 15 2005, 02:36
US citizen Sean Burch's recent Kilimanjaro ascent record overturned by Kilimanjaro specialists Team Kilimanjaro.
Scroll down to bottom of this link: http://teamkilimanjaro.com/speedclimbs.html
Burch reported having time-verification in his personal news release and infomed Team Kilimanjaro and USA Mountain Speed Climbing (and Dan Howitt) that Park Warden Mr. Kijazi is the person to contact.  See this link for Burch's own press release:

After a one month inquiry by Team Kilimanjaro, including speaking and/or emailing with Mr. Kijazi (Chief Park Warden - Tourism, Tanzania National Parks); MR. Manase, (Tourism Officer, TANAPA) and Mr. Mgina (Chief Park Warden, KINAPA Headquarters, Marangu Gate), and, Sean Burch's publicist ... after speaking with each it was found that Burch has no time-verification.

Team Kilimanjaro's statement (and link; scroll down to bottom):
"... all approached and regret that they are unable to confirm this claim."

Also find a report at www.mountainspeedclimbing.org
Title: "Embarrassment" Says TEAM KILIMANJARO About Sean Burch's Record-Claim
Post by: sevenhighestpeaks on Aug 2 2005, 11:00
Team Kilimanjaro is the official source for Kilimanjaro speed climbing records and attempts.  They thoroughly examine each record-claim and do so very professionally.  They initially were happy to report Sean Burch's ascent record-claim of 5 hrs 38 mins 48 secs.  Now after a full month of a very thorough and exacting investigation, they have overturned Burch's record, a prescedent it's believed for Kilimanjaro.  Their full dispute [included is an audio interview with the Park officials]:


Sean Burch, USA


1. Claimed ascent-only time on Marangu Route, 7th June 2005
5 hours 28 mins 48 secs
acclimatised, solo, unsupported

Burch states "For verification I recommend you get in touch with the Tanzanian Park Center... speak with Mr. Kijazi... Also, a reporter from the Guardian newspaper who interviewed me for the Tanzania country wide news/radio/TV has confirmed with park authorities. Deodatus Mfugale."

Interestingly, Burch’s press release further states:

“ ‘We congratulate Sean on running the fastest up the mountain,’ stated the Chief Park Warden who greeted Burch upon his descent to the National Park headquarters gate.”

It is not specified whether the Chief Park Warden of TANAPA or KINAPA is meant. It would seem strange that TANAPA is meant as speed record attempts are against TANAPA policy - see here. It is more likely that KINAPA is meant, as Marangu Gate, the start and finish point of Burch’s attempt, is the KINAPA headquarters over which Ben Mgina presides and to which all Kilimanjaro wardens must report. Mgina can be contacted on +255 744 469 865.

Team Kilimanjaro contacted Mr Kijazi (+255 744 75 65 85) to obtain this verification in order to publish this claimed record as the official new record however Mr Kijazi was unable to provide verification and referred Team Kilimanjaro to the acting Director General (Mr Lorivi Ole Moirana in Gerald Bigurube’s absence) whom we met with on 18th July 2005, along with Dr Emmanuel Gereta, a senior TANAPA official, and Mr Johnson Manase, TANAPA’s tourism manager.

Messrs Moirana (Acting Director General, for Gerald Bigurube); Kijazi (Chief Park Warden - Tourism, Tanzania National Parks); Manase, (Tourism Manager, TANAPA) and Mgina (Chief Park Warden, KINAPA Headquarters, Marangu Gate) and Dr Gereta, all having now been approached, regret that they are unable to confirm or verify Burch’s record claim.

Click here for an extract from an interview with the officials to which Mr Kijazi referred enquiries related to Burch’s claim, where it is clearly stated that far from TANAPA having an active role in Burch’s verification, TANAPA insist that they were unaware of his activities on the mountain. (Note statements made by Mr Moirana after approximately 3 mins 20.)

While it may be conjectured that these findings suggest that Sean Burch fabricated his record claims in order to validate the fitness training methods he advocates and to obtain publicity for his new book, ‘Hyperfitness Living’, Team Kilimanjaro do not believe this to be true and would welcome any material that proves otherwise.

[pictured in website link]
Rebecca Rees-Evans (Women’s Record Holder) and Mr Ben Mgina (Chief Park Warden, Kilimanjaro National Park). Mgina claims no knowledge of Burch’s record attempt on 7th June 2005.

Races are understood by Tanzanian National Parks to constitute proscribed ‘adventure tourism’ and are therefore against their governing policy. Speed attempts are currently conducted without the knowledge of TANAPA officials. However, since the mountain is at all times staffed by at least 30 KINAPA staff ranging at altitudes from 2,700m to 4,700m KINAPA are usually aware of what occurs on the mountain. They will usually not react to any proscribed activities however, unless these are considered a danger or a disturbance.

Team Kilimanjaro have met with TANAPA to request an inter-disciplinary consultation towards a policy revision that will allow races on the mountain to proceed with official sanction. Initial contact has been positive and a formal proposal is pending.