Former Thompson Rivers University grad climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro in six days on hand-cycle - InfoNews

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Former Thompson Rivers University grad climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro in six days on hand-cycle

Sebastian Carrasco pictured on his hand-cycle with his team as he climbs Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2019.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Sebastian Carrasco
February 24, 2020 - 6:00 AM

When Sebastian Carrasco reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, he couldn’t believe how far he had come.

For most people, reaching the summit of a mountain is a great achievement, but for Carrasco it was even more special since he completed the six day trek up the highest mountain in Africa on a hand cycle.

“It was very hard, very physically demanding,” he says. “ I thought I was not going to make it because the terrain was very hard and very tricky and I was moving very slow even though I was giving all my power and strength.”

For a few days, Carrasco admits he thought he wasn’t going to make it. Luckily, he had a team of people supporting him and helping him along the way.

Sebastian Carrasco pictured at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2019.
Sebastian Carrasco pictured at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2019.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Sebastian Carrasco

“It was a dream that came through and I thought after my accident I wasn’t going to be able to climb a summit again so to be there at the summit it was just unbelievable,” he says.

Carrasco, who is originally from Ecuador, graduated from Thompson Rivers University’s adventure guiding diploma in 2006 and worked as a mountain guide for nearly a decade in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. He also did expeditions to Australia and New Zealand.

In 2015, however, Carrasco lost his ability to walk during a work accident. He suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. He also lost a lot of strength and mobility in his arms but fortunately was able to recover.

“It changed everything in my life, every aspect because I was a mountain guide and if I was not guiding all my (other) jobs were related to physical activity and the outdoors,” he says.

Sebastian Carrasco.
Sebastian Carrasco.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Sebastian Carrasco

“It was very hard to realize what was going on and it took me a long time to accept what happened,” he says.

Over time, Carrasco began looking into new hobbies and found hand-cycling. He slowly began practicing and cycling in Ecuador and started competing in competitions as a hobby.

When a close friend of his gave him the idea to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, he began training. It took him two years of physical and psychological training to prepare.

The trip took place in September 2019 and he reached the summit on Sept. 12.

“I thought after my accident I wasn’t going to be able to climb a summit again so to be there at the summit was just unbelievable and proved to me that if you dream for something and if you fight for something you really want then you can achieve it,” he says. “It was very emotional for me.”

Carrasco says he plans to climb a few volcanoes in Ecuador and also hopes to start a foundation to help promote adaptive sports for people with disabilities.

He’ll be back in Kamloops for a talk at Thompson Rivers University on March 12.

Follow him and his adventures on Instagram at @zuko_carrasco.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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