Sydney Osmun traveled to Tanzania in January to be one of 100 pilots to climb and paraglide off the mountain. The mission was to raise $1 million for the people of Tanzania.
With paragliders, guides, medical staff and locals carrying the gear, the group of 800 people started winding their way up the mountain.
“800 people climbing as you can imagine it was just a ribbon of people walking up the mountain,” said Osmun.
The problems began when 150 of the locals assisting the climbers abandoned the group over a miscommunication about pay. They left with the water. But the climbers still thought they'd be okay.
“That night we arrived at the very top they said we'll have water within four hours so we waited for four hours, no water,” said Osmun. “So we started boiling the glacier snow and then we started running out of gas.”
For two days at 19,000 feet the climbers had no water and very little food.
“We had a rescue helicopter come which was really exciting and they dropped us 100 bottles of water and 100 Snickers bars,” she said.
Adding to their troubles, conditions prevented the paragliders from flying back to base. “We were really bummed we couldn't paraglide off the top,” she said. “It was 70 miles per hour rotary winds cloud formations, it was crazy so it was definitely not flyable.”
Dehydrated and hungry, the climbers went down the same way they came up. Somehow they all made it down in one piece and even though it wasn't the trip she had hope for, Osmun said she has no regrets.
“It was definitely more dramatic than I ever thought it would be, but it’s a great story and I feel really lucky to have the people with me,” she said.