Jessica Biel Aims For Everest
With one of the world's iconic mountains under her belt, film star Jessica Biel already has her sights set on visiting another. Everest Base Camp is next on her list, having just reached the summit of Kilimanjaro as part of a charity trek. Biel was the international star among a group of celebrities, largely of American fame, taking part in a televised expedition to Tanzania's popular trekking venue.
"I'd love to trek to Everest Base Camp," said Jessica following her Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) expedition. "It's my next goal," she said. Biel was accompanied by Grammy-nominated singer, Kenna, Lupe Fiasco and others on a 6-day trek to the Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro's highest point on the volcanic cone known as Kibo, and the highest point on the African continent.
Like Kilimanjaro, Jessica's next target is no stranger to famous faces. Mount Everest (8,848 m) has attracted a number of well-known visitors to its southern slopes over the decades since the Everest Base Camp (5,360 metres) was made accessible to trekkers. Well-known explorers such as Ranulph Fiennes and Bear Grylls have spent months on the world's mightiest mountain. likewise, actor Brian Blessed made the staging area his home as he prepared for repeated summit-bids in a determined and painful struggle to reach the highest point on the globe, 3,488 metres above the camp.
When American President Jimmy Carter visited Everest with his wife, Rosalynn, his circumstances were much more comfortable. President Carter had the rare privilege of seeing Mount Everest from the air, as he opted for a helicopter ride to Everest Base Camp. The same mode of transport was chartered by Nepalese ministers in 2009 for the staging of a cabinet meeting and press conference. Despite their intentions for the meeting to highlight environmental issues in the Himalaya, they were subsequently criticised for their disregard of carbon footprint concerns because of the helicopters used.
Robert Redford's visit to the Khumbu was more low-key and unassuming. while he was trekking in Nepal, he stayed in the tea houses which provide tourists food and accommodation along the route of the celebrated Everest Base Camp Trek. The approachable actor, producer and director, was there to enjoy the scenery, and not to garner publicity.
The opposite is true of Biel and co on Kilimanjaro. Their entourage included an MTV documentary crew, and over 300 porters, guides and climbers whose progress was updated online with Twitter posts during their ascent. The aim of the trek was to raise awareness of the worldwide shortage of clean water in developing nations.
Water is an equally important issue in the Himalaya as it is in Africa since global warming has begun to endanger the ice caps and glaciers there. The populations that live along the Yangtze, Ganges and Indus rivers all rely on Himalayan meltwater to live.
"Globally, every 15 seconds a child dies of a waterborne illness" reported Jessica Biel on the 'Summit on the Summit' website, explaining her reasons for joining the Kilimanjaro trek. she also confessed that despite her high level of fitness she found the going "really, really hard." But she was optimistic about her next challenge. "I can handle [trekking] for a longer period of time" said Jessica. she recognised that the trek to Everest Base Camp, which is a more gradual ascent to an altitude only 535 metres shy of Uhuru Peak, may be an easier prospect and provide better opportunities for acclimatisation.
It's not only public figures with fame and privilege that get to experience the majesty of Africa and Asia's highest peaks. Trekking companies run a variety of expeditions in Tanzania and Nepal. there are eight established routes converging on the summits of Kilimanjaro, ranging from the popular and well-worn routes, to the longer more rewarding Lemosho trail. In Nepal, the Everest Base Camp Trek is the cornerstone of Nepal's trekking tourism, culminating in an unforgettable view of the world's highest mountain.