Rob Hall’s Daughter Climbs Kilimanjaro at 15

Sarah Arnold-Hall, 15, the daughter of New Zealand mountaineer Rob Hall (1961-1996) who died on Mt. Everest in 1996, has climbed the highest peak in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, with her mother, Jan Arnold. The mother and daughter took eight days to climb the 19,341-ft./5895m peak as part of a three-week trip to Africa in September, according to Wayfarer, the blog of polar explorer Bob McKerrow.

Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world and every year an estimated 30,000 people make the arduous, but not technically challenging climb.

“Someone said the last day is like trying to climb three Empire State Buildings on a 16-degree angle, and on one lung,” Sarah said.

When she was 10 she visited Mt. Everest’s base camp at 17,598 feet/5,364 meter, but said she found the extra altitude on Mt. Kilimanjaro much harder.

Sarah’s father died on Everest nine weeks before she was born. An expedition leader, he was trapped 656-ft./200m from the south summit in a deadly storm with a client. Eight climbers died in that storm and before he died Hall called his wife in Christchurch via satellite phone telling her not too worry too much and to “sleep well, my sweetheart.”

But, as Sarah and Arnold gently imply, the fact she completed the climb is not a cue for reporters to write, as some have done in the past, that Sarah is following in her famous father’s footsteps.

Arnold, who climbed Everest in 1993 with Hall, is keen to continue climbing. But Sarah is up-front in that she doesn’t necessarily share her parents’ love of climbing, McKerrow blogs. She has her eyes on Paris as her next overseas destination, and among other things would like to see the Eiffel Tower.

Arnold says Rob Hall was much more than a climber. “He was a designer and entrepreneur and by age 23 he had 12 people working for him manufacturing tents and packs. He had quite another side to him.”

McKerrow posts on his Wayfarer blog, “Rob Hall’s death was tragic but it is such a pleasure seeing his daughter Sarah, who Rob never knew, and her mother Jan, climbing Kilimanjaro and enjoying life.”

Jeff Blumenfeld is the founder, publisher and editor of Expedition News, a monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online and by mail to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts.


Used by permission of Expedition News.

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