Climbing Kilimanjaro One Crank at a Time

Waddell at Mt. Kilimanjaro

Waddell at Mt. Kilimanjaro

A racer for Middlebury College, Chris Waddell broke his back in a ski accident in 1988. Within two months he bravely returned to school and, shortly thereafter, began ski racing again, single-handedly revolutionizing the sport of mono-skiing. Waddell is the most decorated Paralympian, winning 12 medals for both skiing and track racing. And while he serves as an inspiration for many, Waddell is more interested in shattering stereotypes connected to the term “disabled.”

This week, Waddell, and an eight person team, will attempt to ascend the highest freestanding mountain on the planet—Mt. Kiliminjaro. Waddell, equipped with a one-of-a-kind rig called a Bomba (Swahili for “cooler than cool”), will tackle the 19,341 feet of elevation one crank at a time on his handcycle, propelling himself over boulders, across scree, and up steep terrain with his arms.

Waddell cranking his bomba

Waddell Cranking His Bomba

“One Revolution” is Waddell’s motto for his unassisted climb, which will also be documented by a film crew.

“We’re hoping to change the way people view people in a wheelchair, the way people view me and other people like me,” explains Waddell.

In  addition, Waddell ’s foundation will deliver the gift of mobility by donating funds to a local wheelchair manufacturer in Tanzania.

You can follow his adventure on Outside’s blog.   For more information or to support Waddell’s vision, visit One Revolution. Check out Waddell on CBS.

Wandermelon applauds Chris Waddell’s incredible tenacity and vision. Whether he makes it to the top or not we think he is bomba for trying and spreading such an important message!


  1. Ralph Raymond on September 23, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Hasn’t Darol Kubacz and Jimmy Goddard also done this? Good luck anyway!

  2. AM on October 5, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Hasn’t Darol Kubacz and Jimmy Goddard also done this? Good luck anyway!

  3. […] was able to make it to the top using nothing but a mountain climbing wheelchair called a Bomba (Swahili for “cooler than cool”)and bruit strength. Congratulations Chris for an amazing feat. Filed under: News, Sports Leave a […]

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