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Blind Kids Climb Kilimanjaro

Climbers set two records—most blind climbers and youngest blind climber at the top

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If you spent your weekend lazing around on the sofa, here’s something to make you feel extra-lazy. A group of blind kids successfully summited Kilimanjaro, setting two records in the process: most blind climbers on Africa’s highpoint, and the youngest blind climber to summit, 13-year-old Max Ashton.

As part of Phoenix-based non-profit Foundation for Blind Children, eight blind climbers and their 17 sighted guides reached the top on June 29. It’s rare for entire parties to make it to the summit, so the team’s success is especially impressive.

Meanwhile, Max Ashton, the youngest blind summiteer, seems to have the makings of a brash mountaineer. Sure, he donated his hiking shoes to his guides, who often climb barefoot or in sandals, but he’s also got some killer instinct:

“I want to prove that kids can do anything. I’m only 12 years old which is in itself a challenge but I’m also blind. But the main reason why I want to go is because of the bragging rights.”

Watch your back, Erik Weihenmayer: Max Ashton is on your tail.

—Ted Alvarez

See Kili Our Way