7summits forum!

7 summits and other mountain stuff => News => Topic started by: skyandsun on Feb 23 2005, 02:13

Title: Kilimanjaro Speed Record Controversy
Post by: skyandsun on Feb 23 2005, 02:13

The record setter and a disputer have taken part in an exhange, apparently, here:

Helen Maas posted that "this man is a liar" and proceed to make several unsubstantiated allegations.  None of the allegations had any references to people who could substantiate what was being said.

The record holder Lance de Willers responded with some references and personal comments against Helen Maas.

An update was made by another poster:

"Contact the Federation For Sport At Altitude - www.fsa-sky.org - as they have the Kilimanjaro record set in 2001 by R Mejia of Italy, 80km route, 4000 meters ascended, in 8 hours 34 minutes 52 seconds Round-Trip:
"Kilimanjaro Marangu Tanzania 5962m 80km 4000m 8h34'52'' 5h38'00'' 2001 R Mejia ITA"

The 12hr 26min climb by Lane de Willers is not competitive compared to this time by R Mejia of Italy.  AND, all FSA records are completely official, as they go to great length, and great cost, to ensure the complete time-verification of all of their athletes.  (Lance de Willer's time, for what it's worth, does not have time-verification that is anywhere near that of the FSA athlete.  Although, the details of his verification haven't been provided yet in total.  But it is strongly appears that he did not have hired timing officials at his start and summit.

Title: Re: Kilimanjaro Speed Record Controversy
Post by: MikeW on Feb 23 2005, 04:22
What's the fun of climbing Kili in 8 hours!!!

 ??? ??? ???

Title: Re: Kilimanjaro Speed Record Controversy
Post by: skyandsun on Feb 25 2005, 10:01
About the record listing for R Mejia of Italy...the FSA's website reads that the distance is "80km" round-trip.  This is 50 miles round-trip.  I think it is very inaccurate.  I have a feeling that it's more like 25 miles round-trip at most, and more like 22-23.
Do you have the distance of this route 7 Summits?  I suppose the speed climbers start at a conventional starting-point (basecamp, etc).
Title: UPDATE: Re: Kilimanjaro Speed Record Controversy
Post by: skyandsun on Mar 9 2005, 14:07
Email statement from Team Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro Speed Ascent Record on Mweka Route, September 2004:
Controversy Proposed as Resolved.

We have received several conflicting reports from those involved but believe firmly that the weight of evidence strongly indicates that Lance de Willers has not lied and that the following occurred on the Sept 04 speed ascent attempt:

6 competitors:

Lance de Willers
Nicolaus Kabila
Amani Kabila
Consea Dissa
Tom Richard Kwai
Augustine xxx

All started the race together at 0400 at Mweka Gate. De Willers started slowly, the other five competitors leaving him behind. The two Kabila brothers reached the true summit together and each collected a ribbon from the summit sign. This was the pre-agreed proof of a summit visit. All the ribbons still remained, confirming to the Kabilas that they were first to arrive at the summit.

200 metres short of Millenium Camp de Willers caught Kwai and they moved upwards together for a time. Kwai began to lag and de Willers forged ahead alone, soon passing the resupply party some time before reaching Barafu where this support party were supposed already to have secreted supplies.

At Barafu de Willers saw the two Kabila brothers on the scree in the distance, a good way ahead and going strong. There was no sign yet of Consea Dissa or Augustine who was with him. An hour short of reaching Stella Point de Willers met Dissa and Augustine on their way down. De Willers claims that Dissa reported being sick, having twice vomited, and having turned around at Stella Point where he encountered a deceased American climber and a guide named Chikima Rasta who works for Nature Discovery (+255 27 254 4063) in Arusha.

We believe Chikima Rasta photographed Consea Dissa at Stella Point and that this photo was subsequently seen by Helen Maas. We conjecture that she understood this image to depict the summit rather than a point 2.2 km short of the summit. This image was subsequently reported to have been lost by newspaper staff.

The two Kabilas - descending much more slowly than de Willers would subsequently descend - crossed de Willers as he ascended, a little below Stella Point.

Lance de Willers continued to the summit alone reaching it at 1326. He took some summit photos - de Willers has supplied 1 of these to us - and returned to Barafu Hut, desending very quickly at an average rate of 32 m/min - despite having paused at Stella Point to comfort Chikima Rasta who was still with the body - and arrived at Barafu Hut at 1410. Here he found Dissa and Augustine drinking tea. Kwai, we believe, had remained here at Barafu Hut and reported to de Willers that the two Kabilas had only left Barafu 10 minutes before. De Willers realised there was then still a chance to catch them and after 1 cup of black tea offered by Kwai, began running quickly downhill.

Just above Millenium Camp de Willers caught up with the two Kabilas and the three ran downwards together for a while until one of the Kabilas had to stop to remove a troublesome gaiter. De Willers capitalised on this and ran onwards alone, still strong. Within the last few kilometres before the gate de Willers was forced at times to walk rather than run, by persistent cramp. Dissa caught de Willers during one such episode and the two continued together, both arriving at the Mweka Gate at 1626 where many witnesses and officials were present.

If this account is accurate - and we believe it is - then de Willers does indeed hold the return ascent record for Mweka Route, even though he was beaten on the ascent phase by Nicolaus and Amani Kabila.

On completion of this phase it is our genuine belief that de Willers was not aware of the superior record of Bruno Brunod, 22nd Nov 2001, on the Marangu Route - it having been very poorly publicised in any English medium until very recently. We believe that it was his genuine belief that the existing record was that achieved by Rogath Ephrem Mtuy - a member of our own team - who was part of an attempt on 27th March 2000 that comprised both acclimatised and unacclimatised competitors. The team had moved together until Kibo Hut, Mtuy only breaking away thereafter - hence his relatively slow time.

Dissa, on descending, we believe may have been vague in his account to Maas about what happened on the attempt, rather than perhaps deliberately dishonest. Maas therefore genuinely believed that Dissa had successfully completed the entire route and became indignant when de Willers excluded Dissa from his sole claim to what he believed was the new world record.

If anyone has an informed reason to suspect that any of the above is false, we would sincerely invite you to contradict us. Otherwise, we believe the above is a reliable account of what passed.


Team Kilimanjaro

Note: Some of the following images demonstrate the feasibility of someone who is not acquainted with Kilimanjaro confusing a photo taken at Stella Point - or Gilman's Point for that matter - with a genuine summit photo of Uhuru Peak:

Summit Sign: http://www.adventurelandsafari.com/Photo%20Album/14.jpg
Stella Point Sign: http://www.ecoexpeditions.no/eastafrica/tanzania/stella.jpg
Stella point: http://www.danciprari.com/images/worldtrip/kilimanjaro/tz-kil-d6-stella-pt-tea-kristen-tonya-wilbard-sarrafin-600.jpg
Gilman's Point Sign: (note URL title): http://www.africa-royal-trekking.com/fotos/kilimanjaro_summit.jpg
Note the comment on this webpage: Stella Point: http://www.pbase.com/adventuresofstar/image/23394712
Arial view: Gilman's Point to Uhuru Summit: http://www.tanzania-online.gov.uk/images/kili1.gif
Corresponding map: http://www.itmb.com/map_samples/kilimanjaro.gif
Example of a misleading sign: http://www.ii.uib.no/~petter/mountains/Kilimanjaro/filmB/21.jpg