How Anne Lorimor climbed Mount Kilimanjaro at 89

By Rachel Gluck
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Anne Lorimor is living proof that age is just a number. While many look forward to peace and quiet at the age of 89 years old, Anne is climbing exotic mountains that tower over 15,000 ft.  

As the world’s oldest woman to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, she embodies the exciting theme “Spirit of Adventure” for this year’s GWR Day.  

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While many might question how Anne managed to achieve such a feat at a wiser age, her story goes back decades.  

It was in 2004 that Anne Lorimor decided she needed to pay it forward.  

She began working tirelessly to help underserved children and youth across the country by starting her own charity, Creating Exciting Futures. 

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 As a young child born during the Great Depression and the oldest of ten children, Anne’s life was anything but easy, though her family never lost hope.  

After completing middle school, Anne graciously accepted help from her second-grade teacher who paid for her to attend a boarding-school in California.  

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As a result, Anne became an RN, completed two bachelor’s degrees, two master’s degrees, and even received her PhD in Communications.  

Anne’s teachers and mentors empowered her to achieve her dreams and she in turn wanted to do the same.  

So, she decided to combine her love of hiking and helping others by attempting a record to raise money and bring awareness to her cause.  

To her, age is just a number, so at 76 she climbed Pikes Peak and four other mountains over 14,000 ft. 

She also climbed mountains in the western United States and Mexico, the Ayers Rock in Australia, the Great Pyramid in Egypt and the pyramid in Mexico City.  

After living in New Mexico, Anne couldn’t even remember a time where she did not hike.   

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Then in 2019, she decided to continue her journey by being the  oldest person to climb Mount Kilimanjaro (female) and (overall)  at 89 years and 37 days.  

This difficult journey was not lost on Anne as she previously hiked Mount Kilimanjaro, which is a dormant volcano in Tanzania.  

It also happens to be the highest mountain in Africa, at about 16,100 ft from its base to 19,341 ft above sea level. 

Anne knew her age would not limit her and would be enough to break the previous record, which was held by Angela Vorobeva of Russia and achieved at 86 years and 267 days on October 19, 2015.  

Anne says that it is important to be fit in mind, body and spirit.  

She set a plan and didn’t let anyone, or anything interfere! In order to physically prepare for her attempt, Anne hiked in Northern Arizona almost every day.  

She also hired a personal trainer for eight months to help increase her core strength.  

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However, after officially consulting with Guinness World Records about her attempt, Anne needed to ensure that she had a plan to help her break the record and follow the guidelines. These included hiking without any physical assistance as well as GPS tracking to ensure she reached the required mileage.  

Unfortunately, ahead of her official attempt, she broke her ribs, but thankfully was able to overcome the pain through prays and deep breathing.  

On July 12, 2019, Anne along with seven others scaled Kilimanjaro on the Rongai Route, which is the only route that approaches the mountain from the north. The complete trip from base to summit to base took nine days and they even did a special celebration dance when they reached the summit.  

Finally, on July 18, 2019, Anne reached the Uhuru Peak, where she was able to see the snow cap mountains, the actual curvature of the earth but the most exciting was having her nephew announce that she was the official record holder.  

She completed her journey unassisted, with no oxygen or artificial aids. 

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Though Anne is not done yet! She still has her sights on hiking Macho Picchu, the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Coast Trail. 

Anne says, “I’ve always had an adventurous spirit and a willingness to take risks. This experience was a great adventure!” 

Check our more inspiring stories like Anne’s in Guinness World Records 2020! 

Guinness World Records 2020

Photography credit: James Poremba