Famous People That Have Climbed Kilimanjaro? | Kilimanjaro Sunrise

Kilimanjaro Sunrise
7 min readJan 10, 2023

Before COVID, approximately 35,000 people a year attempted to climb Kilimanjaro. Many of them succeed, yet many also failed. This goes for celebrities and famous people as well. Many famous people have climbed Kilimanjaro. Some made the summit others didn’t. Continue reading to find out who they are.

There are many reasons you may not make the summit, you can read about them here: https://kilimanjarosunrise.com/top-five-reasons-people-fail-on-kilimanjaro/

Climbed Kilimanjaro

Mandy Moore

Moore climbed Kilimanjaro in 2018 during her spring break from shooting the TV show This is Us. She described it as “one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life.” She fulfilled a dream that she had since she was 18 years old-to climb Kilimanjaro. After her life-changing Kilimanjaro climb, Moore continued her love of adventure by also trekking to Everest Base Camp.

Comic Relief

Several British comedians, TV personalities, and artists climbed Kilimanjaro both in 2009 and then again in 2019 for the Red Nose Day. A charity to reduce child poverty.

In 2009, Gary Barlow led the group. Members were singer Ronan Keating, DJ Chris Moyles, Ben Shephard, Cheryl Cole and Kimberley Walsh from Girls Aloud, actress Denise Van Outen, presenter Fearne Cotton, and singer Alesha Dixon.

In 2019, 10 years after the first climb, nine more celebrities also summited Kilimanjaro. This group consisted of Jade Thirwall and Leigh-Anne Thirwall from Little Mix, Love Island winner Dani Dyer, Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas, BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker, former MP Ed Balls, comedian Alexander Armstrong, sports pundit Osi Umenyiora and TV presenter Anita Rani.

Chris Long

Retired Philadelphia Eagle, Chris Long, has climbed Mountain Kilimanjaro several times starting in 2013 for his charity Conquering Kili which aims to help with the water crisis in Tanzania. He has brought several former and current athletes and military veterans with him. Some of the former athletes include Steven Jackson, Tom Santi, Vince Young, MMA fighter Justin Wren, and Haloti Ngata.

Haloti Ngata

NFL defensive lineman Haloti Ngata joined Chris Long on Kilimanjaro in 2019. The former Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman decided to announce his retirement from the NFL while at the summit.

“Just a man standing on top of the world with a heart full of gratitude,” Ngata wrote. “Thank you, Lord, for letting me play the game I love for 13 unforgettable years. I’m retiring on top. I might be finished playing football, but I’m holding tight to the friendships, memories, and wisdom I’ve gained along the way.”

Brian Blessed

Actor Brian Blessed may be the first celebrity to climb Kilimanjaro. He did it in 1988. Brian Blessed has affectionately known as “Man-Mountain”.

Furthermore, the actor has attempted Mount Everest three times. In 1993 he got within 1,000 feet of the summit.

Blessed has also climbed Aconcagua and is the oldest man to hike to the North Magnetic Pole.

Incidentally, he has also survived a plane crash into the Amazon.

He and his daughter, Cathie climbed Mount Kilimanjaro together. “It was a great success: she did very well and got to the summit, although she became quite ill with the altitude and lack of oxygen, so I had to give her lots of aspirin and water. We got on marvelously nevertheless.”

Jessica Biel

Jessica Biel, Kenna, and Emile Hirsch

Actress, Jessica Biel climbed Kilimanjaro along with several other famous people. The publicized climb was the idea of Grammy-nominated musician Kenna. He did it to raise awareness about the global clean-water crisis. Actor, Emile Hirsch of Into the Wild fame joined them.

On their climb, the group faced some tough weather. They were met with sleet, snow, rain, and freezing temperatures. Despite the conditions, the entire team made it to the summit, including the documentary team and the 248 porters.

The documentary they filmed is called Summit on the Summit: Kilimanjaro. It was created to raise funds and awareness for the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program. They filmed it for MTV. Biel made it to the summit but admitted it was one of the hardest things she has ever done and would never attempt it again. “The temperature was zero degrees and so many people were struggling,” Biel said.

Isabel Lucas

Australian actress and model, Isabel Lucas, also joined Jessica Biel on Kilimanjaro. “It was the most challenging thing, physically, that I’ve done. All of us got altitude sickness, or felt the effects of it, whether it was nausea or headaches or loss of consciousness, even. 19,341 feet is really high, and a lot of us hadn’t experienced that sort of altitude, and you don’t know how your body is going to react,” said Lucas. “I actually didn’t feel the effects until we were on the summit, and then when we were descending, I got quite sick. We had an amazing group of people and they were very helpful and supportive. It was really hard, though. Really.”

Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco, an American rap artist was also on the same Kilimanjaro MTV trip with Biel, Lucas, and Hirsch “I guess it was one of the ‘Karate Kid’ moments, you know? I did martial arts for, like, 20 years. My father was a Grand Master for, like, 40 years before he passed. It’s just one of those lessons that we were taught,” laughed Fiasco. “We used to run in the snow barefoot, jump over cars, hang out of trees and do all types of crazy stuff, and that was just part of the training, to understand that it’s you versus yourself. The terrain is always going to exist, it’s always going to be there, and it’s whether you are capable enough to go through it. … Just some little mysticism right there, a little bit of that karate magic to keep the mind going,” he continued.

Emile Hirsch

Emile Hirsch is best known for playing the adventure-seeking Christopher McCandless in the Sean Penn-directed film Into the Wild. This fact was not lost on Hirsch as he ascended Mount Kilimanjaro in January. He realized his outdoorsy cred could take a serious beating if he failed to reach Kilimanjaro’s summit. Especially if Jessica Biel, Isabel Lucas, and Lupe Fiasco, who joined him on the climb, beat him to the top. “The way I got involved is that I was friends with Isabel Lucas, and I called her when she was working on a movie in Michigan. She told me all about this climb. I said, ‘Wow, that sounds amazing,’” said Hirsch. “Isabel’s very sweet: she didn’t make climbing Kilimanjaro sound very scary or hard. And I didn’t actually know that much about Kilimanjaro up to that point. So it sounded like this almost glorified hippie hike. It could have been a hill to me for all I knew at that exact moment.”

Jimmy Chin

Jimmy Chin was also on the Kenna climb. “Kenna called me. I’m not sure how he got my name. It was kind of a cold call. I was superflattered that he wanted me to join the team. I was a little reluctant at first, because I have climbed Kilimanjaro before,” Chin said. “But Kenna is very passionate about this project. I was inspired by his vision of bringing together a lot of people from different walks of life and focusing on making really positive change. He was very sincere and genuine. And more than anything, I found that to be something I could get behind,” continued Chin.

Unsuccessful Climb

On the other hand many have also tried and not made the summit. Some of the more noteworthy people that have failed to make the summit are Martina Navratilova, Anne Curry, and Ray Lewis.

Final Thoughts

We are sure other famous people have climbed Kilimanjaro, these are the ones we know of. If you know of others let us know. We hope you share this list with your friends. Maybe it’ll inspire you to put together a trip. If that happens, then feel free to contact us so we can help you safely and successfully climb Kilimanjaro.

Originally published at https://kilimanjarosunrise.com on January 10, 2023.



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