Martina Navratilova Gets HAPE & A Rescue on Kilimanjaro

You hear it all the time: Kilimanjaro is just a hike…anyone can do it. Well, yes, it is just a hike from a technical perspective by the standard routes, but, its altitude – almost 6,000 meters – catches many people unaware – even great athletes.

As Jason Hendricks over at Extreme Adventure News brought to my attention, tennis great Martina Navratilova was just brought down off the mountain, suffering from HAPE, or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema. All in all, she's fine, and is expected to make a full recovery. However, it could easily have been worse; there were no doubt many rescuers and helpers involved in getting her safely back down the mountain and to Nairobi Hospital.

Navratilova's mishap on the "easy" slopes of Kilimanjaro should serve as a warning to people: altitude can strike anyone, even great athletes on mellow terrain. So, be prepared, climb slowly and allow yourself to acclimate. Know how to read your body, and respond accordingly to what it's telling you. And, as Martina did, don't be afraid to turn around and come back another day…a summit isn't worth dying for.

If you want to learn a bit more about Acute Mountain Sickness, and it's more serious cousins, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema and High Altitude Cerebral Edema – and what to do about them – check out my articles on the subject below:

Enjoy, and be safe out there!

Jake Norton is an Everest climber, guide, photographer, writer, and motivational speaker from Colorado.

  1. Jason A. Hendricks
    Jason A. HendricksDecember 10,10

    Thanks for linking up my post on your blog. I think that it is interesting how many people take Kilimanjaro so lightly. It is still a very high mountain and no matter how easy everyone says it is, everyone is different and their bodies react in different ways. I am glad that she is ok and will recover.

  2. Jake Norton
    Jake NortonDecember 13,10

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for giving me the heads up on this story. Yes, it is surprising how many people take it lightly – seems people don’t realize that altitude is altitude, regardless of the technical challenges involved. I, too, am glad she is OK an will recover well – hopefully her story can be a subtle reminder to future climbers about the dangers of altitude!

    Thanks again, and keep up the great blogging!

    -Jake

  3. Mount Everest
    Mount EverestDecember 14,10

    I am sure Martina will be back to give it another shot one day. Martina has had treatment for Cancer recently, would that of been a disadvantage to her combined with the altitude?

    Colin
    Mount Everest The British Story
    http://www.everest1953.co.uk

  4. noithatdep
    noithatdepDecember 23,10

    keep updating your blog with valuable information. Thanks

  5. Linda
    LindaApril 3,11

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