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Jordan Supports A World’s First!

Ben Stewart becomes the first person to ascend and descend Kilimanjaro...backwards!


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Fluidmaster’s Jordan Whitrow formed part of a group tackling Kilimanjaro in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

We caught up with him upon his return to find out more…

Jordan and the team supported Ben Stewart, a personal trainer who successfully became the first ever person to ascend and descend Kilimanjaro…backwards! After previously completing the Three Peaks challenge backwards (Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike), Ben set his sights on the highest peak in Africa! The 8 day excursion along the Lemosho route (one of the longer routes to the summit), included hikes throughout the night, and a final day packed with 10 hours of climbing to reach the Uhuru Peak sign (5,895 m). Fluidmaster are proud to support Ben, Jordan and the team as they undertake these challenges in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

Now back to the comfort of his office, we caught up with Jordan to find out more about the achievement.

You’ve supported Ben in previous challenges, how did this compare in terms of physical (and mental) challenges?

“Physically this was comparable to the Three Peaks challenge. In fact, it was arguably easier with the need to manage the pace to minimise over-consumption of energy. Mentally this challenge was beyond compare – the last ascent to the summit was the most difficult mental ordeal I’ve ever suffered. For Ben, the descent was definitely more of a mental struggle than it was a physical one.”

What kind of preparation and training did you undertake?

“Most of my training has been focused on improving my aerobic fitness, in essence building strength in my heart to sustain a moderately high heart rate for long periods of time. This was very important to prepare my body to work harder to compensate for the reduced oxygen levels at altitude. This was primarily done by running on a consistent basis for prolonged periods.”

What was the most memorable moment from the journey?

“Other than reaching the summit, which of course was extremely rewarding and overwhelming after what was an exhausting experience to get there, the climb up the Barranco Wall had to be the highlight for me. This section was the most technically challenging, with some elements needing to be climbed rather than walked. After reaching the top of this section, the team celebrated with the porters with music and dancing! These moments brought the entire team closer together, and  it gave me the strength and energy to conquer the challenge!”

Jordan (far left) enjoyed the challenge of the Barranco Wall, shown here in the background

Were there any obstacles you and the team weren’t prepared for?

“There were no major foreseen challenges the team were not prepared for – our guides were excellent in informing us of all requirements ahead of the trip. This meant we had no surprises beforehand. The decision to work with a local team of guides and porters was priceless and ensured we could all solely focus on walking and supporting Ben to become the world’s first ascender and descender of Mount Kilimanjaro.”

Would you ever climb Kilimanjaro again?

“Having reached the summit of Kilimanjaro and achieved my goal, I have absolutely no desire to climb this mountain again! I have incredible memories from this remarkable expedition, but it truly was a once in a lifetime experience and I fully intend to keep it that way!”

Kilimanjaro is a unique trekking experience because the journey takes visitors through five different ecological zones. These zones include a cultivated area, rainforest, heath and moorland, highland alpine desert and an arctic summit. It’s estimated that as many as 30,00+ people attempt to summit the mountain every year. The high altitude proves particularly difficult for many climbers. This makes the achievements of Ben, Jordan and the team an impressive feat! On top of Ben becoming the first ever person to ascend and descend the mountain backwards, he is only the third person to ascend backwards, and the first European to achieve this.

Ben (centre) successfully completed a world’s first ascent and descent of Kilimanjaro – Backwards!

So far, a fantastic £5000 has been raised for the British Heart Foundation. Ben’s achievement has picked up interest in both the UK and globally, with donations still increasing. Ben will also be releasing a documentary about his backwards Kilimanjaro journey. As a result, he hopes to push the fundraising progress to £10,000. If you would like to contribute to the cause, you can visit Ben’s JustGiving Page.

Congratulations Team!