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Siberian babushka aged 86 becomes the oldest person to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

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02 November 2015


'October 29 - the day when I went to the Uhuru Peak - was the day of my sister's birth. I dedicated this climb to her.' Picture: Altezza Travel

This intrepid adventurer from Ulan-Ude hiked her way into the record books, reaching the 5,895 metre (19,341 ft) summit in Tanzania on 29 October at 13.08 Moscow time, accompanied by her daughter Vera, 62, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Her remarkable climb was to fulfil a vow she made to her sister who died in childhood in 1935, she said. 

'The first days of our expedition could be called a pleasant stroll,' she explained modestly. 'Then we were hit by the monsoons, they seemed to never end. We were climbing during the day, and at night the guides had to dry all the equipment to have warm clothes in the morning.

'Fatigue accumulated gradually, and I was very exhausted before the storming of the summit. At the height of 4,600 metres above sea level the most difficult phase began: climbing to the peak, which took us 13 hours.'

Tourist company Altezza Travel said Angela's medical condition on her ascent was 'incredible' - the oxygen concentration in her blood was 89%, her pulse - 70. 'This showed that she tolerated altitude acclimatization very well.'

Angela and Vera Vorobyeva

Retired teacher Angela Vorobyova reached the 5,895 metre summit in Tanzania accompanied by her daughter Vera, 62. Picture: Altezza Travel

'I had never thought about turning back,' she said. 'At an altitude of 4,000 metres, we even danced the tango with our guide. And at 5,000 meters we saw the sunrise. Sunrise above the clouds. That's impressive. I had lost my voice, and I couldn't speak, but to turn back? No, I did not even think about it.'

Even if her voice had gone, her sense of achievement and pure joy at being at the top of one of the world's most famous mountains, and the highest in Africa, was total. 'At the top of Kilimanjaro, we stayed for about an hour,' she said. 'The beauty is breathtaking, it seems incredible. You know, I did not want to go back. Not only because of the beautiful scenery. 

'The date of my conquering the Kilimanjaro -  29 October - was not chosen by chance. I knew about the monsoons and bad weather at this time of year. But it was important to climb to the top on this particular day. 80 years ago I made a promise to my sister, Lida, that I would travel for both of us. Lida was older than I, she was born in 1923 and died of pneumonia. She lived only 12 years and 4 days. I loved her. October 29 - the day when I went to the Uhuru Peak - was the day of her birth. I dedicated this climb to her.'

Angela Vorobyeva

Angela Vorobyeva

Angela Vorobyeva

Angela Vorobyeva

'The first days of our expedition could be called a pleasant stroll. Then we were hit by the monsoons, they seemed to never end.' Pictures: Altezza Travel

To her this is the most important aspect, rather than her expected entry into Guinness World Records. 

'I love the mountains,' she said. 'They have always attracted me. And I love Africa, its nature. It is tempting to climb to the highest peak of Africa. Moreover, on the one hand, it is a huge mountain, and on the other - Uhuru Peak is not covered by ice, like Everest or Mount Elbrus, so requires no special climbing skills.'

An inveterate traveller, she has also undertaken trips to Australia, the Cape of Good Hope, and the Fiji Islands. 'At first I wanted to try myself by walking the Inca Trail in Peru from Cusco to Machu Picchu. It is 48 km at an altitude of about 4000 meters. I thought that if cope with this well, I will try to conquer Kilimanjaro. Unfortunately, a trip to Peru this year fell through, and it was decided to go to Tanzania. 

'I'm walking by foot pretty much usually, and there are no problems with blood pressure. I do exercises every morning and pour cold water over myself. I do not have some special training for climbing.

Angela Vorobyeva

Angela Vorobyeva

Angela Vorobyeva


Angela Vorobyeva

'The beauty is breathtaking, it seems incredible. You know, I did not want to go back.' Pictures: Altezza Travel

'My next planned trip is, of course, to Peru, Machu Picchu. In addition, I have dream of a cruise from Anadyr - Murmansk, past the Russian islands in the Arctic and the North Pole. 

'Traveling is not only the cognition of the world, it's more about the cognition of yourself, what you can, what are you worth in this life.' She added: 'Of course, it is very nice to get into the Guinness Book of Records.'

Along with Angela and Vera on Kilimanjaro, was a support team including Elias Masave and Shabani Svahele,  guides with experience in Kilimanjaro more than 15 years. 

Head of Altezza Travel Alexander Andreychuk commented: 'We do not set ourselves the goal to reach the top at any cost.' Medical precautions included checks twice a day. 'By the way, Angela did not need ay first aid kits or oxygen.  She coped perfectly without them.'

Comments (5)

What an amazing woman and a wonderful; inspiration! I am so glad you made it to the top and honored your sister in this way.
Carol Stickney, Sparta NJ USA
05/01/2016 22:36
What a good role model.
MIke S, Santa Cruz, CA
09/11/2015 06:46
Fantastic! Well done to my two fellow Trekkers who shared hugs and kisses en route. Remember the small female trekker who kept coming to hug you? You are my Siberian mega heroes. Glad all three of us made it to Uhuru! Maybe we meet up again on another mountain? Take care. Love Val xx
Val Jessop, Yorkshire, England, U K
05/11/2015 10:18
That is fantastic, well done!
Donna, Scotland
03/11/2015 17:08
What an amazing woman !!!
Geo , NZ
02/11/2015 19:50

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