Video: Climbers and Kenya's Looming Drought

The source of 70 percent of the country's water may soon dry up
Staff Writer

At 17,058 feet, Mount Kenya towers above the plains in the heart of its namesake African nation. The peak is more than just an important landmark, though. It's also crucial to human life as the source of 70 percent of Kenya’s fresh water.

When Pete McBride traveled with a team to the mountain this summer, he intended not only to climb the 20-pitch route, but to document the story of Mount Kenya’s disappearing glaciers. Without the runoff from the ice, the local people would have no water to drink or to use for agriculture.

It’s a pressing issue, because even as the glaciers diminish, the demand for water keeps growing. McBride tells that story in the new documentary The Water Tower.

“I think climbers should be an active voice in raising awareness of our changing wild places, since so many climbers are indirectly the ambassadors to wild places...” McBride told Rock and Ice.

The team included guide Jake Norton (Golden, CO), mountain skier Kim Havell (Telluride, CO), mountaineer and humanitarian Julie Stabler Hull (Seattle) and Kenyans Mara Douglas-Hamilton and Frank Pope.

The Water Tower will show at film festivals in 2013 with the goal to raise awareness of water issues and Norton's Challenge 21, which supports the nonprofit organization Water for People.

Via Rock and Ice.

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