SUMMIT ON THE SUMMIT: Kilimanjaro
SOTSK SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR BLOG: Azita Ardakani
A few months before SOTSK launched, I was visiting LA and met Kenna through a mutual friend. When the waiter came by, Kenna asked for water — tap water — and said he would reuse his glass…making it clear he places his passion about water into action wherever he goes.
I was working in Social Media at a software company and when I heard about the SOTSK campaign, it was everything my tech and cause-driven heart could ask for. A virtual and real life climb, scaled foot-by-foot, interactive with photos, videos, and updates right from Mt. Kilimanjaro – all in the name of the clean water crisis which kills a child every 15 seconds. I wanted in.
I began volunteering on the project from Vancouver, sending in ideas and strategy. Closer to the full launch, I decided I would regret it if I didn’t get wholly involved, even if it meant quitting my job and going to LA to work on it for a few weeks – I had no idea what I was getting myself into. When I arrived, I was thrown full force into SOTSK. We had Sponsors (HP, Windows, First Ascent, Revo, PUR), beneficiaries (UNHCR, Play Pumps, Water for People), celebrities (Jessica Biel, Lupe Fiasco, Emile Hirsh, Isabel Lucas, Santigold), activists, (Elizabeth Gore, Alexandra Cousteau, Kick Kennedy, Bernise Ang), educators (Dr. Greg Allgood, Simon Isaacs), artists (Jimmy Chin, Michael Muller) and we had the crisis of clean water. Connecting the dots between all of these people and platforms would become my challenge, telling the story and building momentum and awareness for a virtually unknown initiative would become my mission.
Summit on the Summit became the number one cause on Facebook. We hit 12 million impressions on one day with the 
“Wave” campaign that had various Twitter celebrity profiles “Go Blue” on their avatars and show their support for us prior to the climb. We built a 50,000 person community cross platform on Facebook & Twitter from nothing and we got our message out there.
I took away many lessons from Summit. First and foremost: this is about what we are made of - over 70% our bodies, to be exact, is made from water’s molecular structure of hydrogen and oxygen. Water is life - it dictates economy, equality & society. This wasn’t just a campaign, this was a wakeup call. If we do not save water at home, send water to those who need it, and keep educating ourselves – we have no one to blame but ourselves.
With the benefits of technology we can now create virtual communities of real people and rally together to make amazing things really happen. I got to be at the forefront of this for SOTSK and the fight is not over. I hope for every web-based initiative to go beyond the splash, the celebrity, and to keep the human reminder of the intrinsic necessity of what motivates causes. In a time where there is a plethora of initiatives to get behind, it is easy to see it as a check box to join a group and call it a day. Ensuring that there is an organic reminder and voice that resonates on an ongoing basis is a social responsibility. I learned that being clear, true and focused to what your ultimate goal is the best marketing strategy out there.
This fight isn’t over. We have a very healthy community of supporters (like you reading this) and we will keep you engaged, involved and a part of our mission to solve the clean water crisis!
- Azita Ardakani

SOTSK SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR BLOG: Azita Ardakani

A few months before SOTSK launched, I was visiting LA and met Kenna through a mutual friend. When the waiter came by, Kenna asked for water — tap water — and said he would reuse his glass…making it clear he places his passion about water into action wherever he goes.

I was working in Social Media at a software company and when I heard about the SOTSK campaign, it was everything my tech and cause-driven heart could ask for. A virtual and real life climb, scaled foot-by-foot, interactive with photos, videos, and updates right from Mt. Kilimanjaro – all in the name of the clean water crisis which kills a child every 15 seconds. I wanted in.

I began volunteering on the project from Vancouver, sending in ideas and strategy. Closer to the full launch, I decided I would regret it if I didn’t get wholly involved, even if it meant quitting my job and going to LA to work on it for a few weeks – I had no idea what I was getting myself into. When I arrived, I was thrown full force into SOTSK. We had Sponsors (HP, Windows, First Ascent, Revo, PUR), beneficiaries (UNHCR, Play Pumps, Water for People), celebrities (Jessica Biel, Lupe Fiasco, Emile Hirsh, Isabel Lucas, Santigold), activists, (Elizabeth Gore, Alexandra Cousteau, Kick Kennedy, Bernise Ang), educators (Dr. Greg Allgood, Simon Isaacs), artists (Jimmy Chin, Michael Muller) and we had the crisis of clean water. Connecting the dots between all of these people and platforms would become my challenge, telling the story and building momentum and awareness for a virtually unknown initiative would become my mission.

Summit on the Summit became the number one cause on Facebook. We hit 12 million impressions on one day with the 
“Wave” campaign that had various Twitter celebrity profiles “Go Blue” on their avatars and show their support for us prior to the climb. We built a 50,000 person community cross platform on Facebook & Twitter from nothing and we got our message out there.

I took away many lessons from Summit. First and foremost: this is about what we are made of - over 70% our bodies, to be exact, is made from water’s molecular structure of hydrogen and oxygen. Water is life - it dictates economy, equality & society. This wasn’t just a campaign, this was a wakeup call. If we do not save water at home, send water to those who need it, and keep educating ourselves – we have no one to blame but ourselves.

With the benefits of technology we can now create virtual communities of real people and rally together to make amazing things really happen. I got to be at the forefront of this for SOTSK and the fight is not over. I hope for every web-based initiative to go beyond the splash, the celebrity, and to keep the human reminder of the intrinsic necessity of what motivates causes. In a time where there is a plethora of initiatives to get behind, it is easy to see it as a check box to join a group and call it a day. Ensuring that there is an organic reminder and voice that resonates on an ongoing basis is a social responsibility. I learned that being clear, true and focused to what your ultimate goal is the best marketing strategy out there.

This fight isn’t over. We have a very healthy community of supporters (like you reading this) and we will keep you engaged, involved and a part of our mission to solve the clean water crisis!

- Azita Ardakani

BUY YOUR OWN SOTSK REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
TO GIVE CLEAN WATER!

SOTSK made it to the top of Kilimanjaro thanks to our PUR-provided Summit on the Summit Sigg reusable water bottles and now you can purchase your own to support the cause!

For every bottle sold online, PUR will donate $12 to SOTSK, providing 1,200 liters (1 cent = 1 liter) of clean drinking water to people in developing countries.

CLIMBER BLOG: Rachel Morrison
Why I joined SOTSK
It started with a text from Justin Wilkes from Radical Media asking me if I liked hiking. Cut to 3 weeks later: climbing up Kilimanjaro. I had absolutely no experience hiking or mountain climbing before this but am always up for an adventure.
I’ve been shooting for 8 years…everything from narrative to documentaries. For me it’s always about the story and I’m always most drawn to things that have a message and make you care and feel.
As if the climb itself wasn’t tough enough, we had the extra job of getting ahead of the cast in order to film them, and at other times retrace our steps in order to cover them from behind. And the weather was miserable. I felt like the mountain existed by Murphy’s Law. If I took clothing off, it got cold and rained. If I put extra gear on, the sun came out and I overheated.
This was definitely a once in a lifetime experience with an amazing group of people. I feel absolutely honored to have played some small part in Kenna’s vision - and hope more than anything that the film can help raise awareness, money, and support for a phenomenal cause.
I shot on a combo of the Sony EX3 and the Canon Mark II 5D with a 28mm lens which was kind of liberating because I haven’t shot with a prime lens in years. The Mark II was amazing in low light. We were trying to keep it lightweight and low profile so I didn’t bring my handheld rig, matte box or follow focus. But as a result, there was no good way to compensate in bright sun so I wound up shooting it at a faster shutter speed than I would’ve liked. But at night and in the pouring rain and snow it was unbeatable.
- Rachel Morrison

CLIMBER BLOG: Rachel Morrison

Why I joined SOTSK

It started with a text from Justin Wilkes from Radical Media asking me if I liked hiking. Cut to 3 weeks later: climbing up Kilimanjaro. I had absolutely no experience hiking or mountain climbing before this but am always up for an adventure.

I’ve been shooting for 8 years…everything from narrative to documentaries. For me it’s always about the story and I’m always most drawn to things that have a message and make you care and feel.

As if the climb itself wasn’t tough enough, we had the extra job of getting ahead of the cast in order to film them, and at other times retrace our steps in order to cover them from behind. And the weather was miserable. I felt like the mountain existed by Murphy’s Law. If I took clothing off, it got cold and rained. If I put extra gear on, the sun came out and I overheated.

This was definitely a once in a lifetime experience with an amazing group of people. I feel absolutely honored to have played some small part in Kenna’s vision - and hope more than anything that the film can help raise awareness, money, and support for a phenomenal cause.

I shot on a combo of the Sony EX3 and the Canon Mark II 5D with a 28mm lens which was kind of liberating because I haven’t shot with a prime lens in years. The Mark II was amazing in low light. We were trying to keep it lightweight and low profile so I didn’t bring my handheld rig, matte box or follow focus. But as a result, there was no good way to compensate in bright sun so I wound up shooting it at a faster shutter speed than I would’ve liked. But at night and in the pouring rain and snow it was unbeatable.

- Rachel Morrison

A faucet dripping just once per second will waste as much as 2,700 gallons of water per year.

American Society of Civil Engineers

2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure

CLIMBER BLOG: Eddie O’Connor

My thanks to all. Kenna is like my oldest best friend. A person you can trust. A person who talks his friends into uncomfortable hikes. And you leave better off. And stronger. It was a very hard climb. We had fun. We got to know our porters well. The best thing I saw was the French film team [Eric Guichard, Ivan Maucuit & Antoine Sruys] load up all their climbing gear in packs after the climb and give it to their porters. So generous. They did not hesitate. That’s the spirit. I left without my shoes.

My love and thanks to you all.

- Eddie O’Connor (Sound Recordist)

I’ve got to say that it was one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve ever done…not climbing Kilimanjaro, but organizing and running THIS Kilimanjaro climb!
- Thomas Holden, lead guide from Thomson Safaris

I’ve got to say that it was one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve ever done…not climbing Kilimanjaro, but organizing and running THIS Kilimanjaro climb!

- Thomas Holden, lead guide from Thomson Safaris

CLIMBER BLOG: Artur Dzieweczynski
Why I joined SOTSK
For me SOTSK was a job. The best job and the worst…by that I mean the hardest. We dealt with extreme altitude, cold, wet, long hours, and not enough sleep. It was nothing like I expected. But it was also the greatest adventure in my life. I’m proud and grateful to have played a small part in such a great project.
When I got back to sea level, I promised myself not to climb mountains anymore. But after I slept, rested and the skin on my nose healed, I’m ready for the next one!
Thank You Radical, Justin, Mike, Ray, Nicole & Jonna for this chance. Thank You to the crew, all the climbers, guides and porters for sharing this experience with me. After those days on the mountain, I appreciate my life and what I have even more than before.
- Artur Dzieweczynski

CLIMBER BLOG: Artur Dzieweczynski

Why I joined SOTSK

For me SOTSK was a job. The best job and the worst…by that I mean the hardest. We dealt with extreme altitude, cold, wet, long hours, and not enough sleep. It was nothing like I expected. But it was also the greatest adventure in my life. I’m proud and grateful to have played a small part in such a great project.

When I got back to sea level, I promised myself not to climb mountains anymore. But after I slept, rested and the skin on my nose healed, I’m ready for the next one!

Thank You Radical, Justin, Mike, Ray, Nicole & Jonna for this chance. Thank You to the crew, all the climbers, guides and porters for sharing this experience with me. After those days on the mountain, I appreciate my life and what I have even more than before.

- Artur Dzieweczynski

Kick Kennedy featured on LoHud.com
CLIMBER BLOG: Bill Winters
Why I joined SOTSK
I got involved as a DP for SOTSK through my friend Justin Wilkes who was one of the executive producers of the MTV documentary for @radical.media. Justin and I went to film school together and he knew that I am a lover of the outdoors as well as an avid mountain biker and cinematographer. This project is very unique because it combines all of my passions. I expected it to be difficult from both a physical and technical standpoint, but I never expected to learn just how dire the clean water situation is in Africa. I always knew the water situation in Africa was problematic, but actually going to villages where women have to walk 6 hours a day to get to a water source was absolutely shocking. Here in America we take it for granted that we have clean water endlessly flowing from our sinks and showers. It was an eye opening experience that I want to share with people back home through cinematography. The more people that are aware of this problem, the better chance we have of solving it.  
- Bill Winters
Bill’s local papers — LoHud.com & The Harrison Report — wrote articles about him as well.

CLIMBER BLOG: Bill Winters

Why I joined SOTSK

I got involved as a DP for SOTSK through my friend Justin Wilkes who was one of the executive producers of the MTV documentary for @radical.media. Justin and I went to film school together and he knew that I am a lover of the outdoors as well as an avid mountain biker and cinematographer. This project is very unique because it combines all of my passions. I expected it to be difficult from both a physical and technical standpoint, but I never expected to learn just how dire the clean water situation is in Africa. I always knew the water situation in Africa was problematic, but actually going to villages where women have to walk 6 hours a day to get to a water source was absolutely shocking. Here in America we take it for granted that we have clean water endlessly flowing from our sinks and showers. It was an eye opening experience that I want to share with people back home through cinematography. The more people that are aware of this problem, the better chance we have of solving it.  

- Bill Winters

Bill’s local papers — LoHud.com & The Harrison Report — wrote articles about him as well.

CLIMBER BLOG: Kent Harvey, Dave Ruddick & Thomas Grimshaw

Why we joined SOTSK

While waiting in the airport lounge before flying out of Tanzania after the climb, the VRA film crew reflected on the trip…

Kent Harvey (DP): We were hired to do the daily dispatches—a 3 ½-4 minute video diary each day. We’d get direction from Brooke & Shannon for the theme of the day then would start after everyone, catch up, shoot then get ahead and try to stay in front from there and let them come to us. We’d grab Alexandra Cousteau, Elizabeth Gore or Jess because they seemed like good subjects on a given day. Then we’d make it up as we go. We shot on a Sony EX3 HD Cam and tried to stay nondescript since there were so many of us out there filming. Had to deliver the footage by 4-5pm each day then have the final piece edited and ready to send off by 8-9pm. What was challenging was producing on the fly. As the day unfolded, the story presented itself.

Dave Ruddick (Sound Recordist): It was like doing a minidocumentary every day.

Thomas Grimshaw (Editor): But it was really unknown for the day what we’d capture.

Kent: We shot a branded campaign for First Ascent back in March 2009. Someone on the SOTSK team saw the daily dispatches from Everest and wanted to know how we did it. I was living in LA at the time, doing some feature work. Eddie Bauer handed it to me in July and I realized the size of it. I called my EP Joe Raymey at VRA. He talked with Shannon on spec. We really didn’t think it would come together. Just seemed like an unrealistic prospect to do a mobile production in the same number of days as the actual expedition would take. I told Shannon she had to double the length of the trip to get the produced videos she wanted and she said they couldn’t due to everyone’s schedules and the budget constraints. I’m blown away that it worked out. Thomas Grimshaw was the MVP with what he pulled off editing every day. I learned a lot talking to everyone…especially Gore, Cousteau & Allgood who made me more aware of the global water crisis. But for Dave & I, the actual climbing was old hat. When people were freaking out about the night before, we were fine.

Dave: My first call was in July but it wasn’t confirmed that I was coming until 2 weeks before the trip. I’ve worked with Kent for 20 years. We worked on a series for National Geographic, an IMAX project, worked on Everest, and climbing shows in Peru, Bolivia and Alaska. This was the first expedition I’ve ever been on where everyone got to the top. I can’t even get a group of school kids to walk around the block, someone inevitably cramps up and drops out. The SOTSK crew had an amazing amount of determination to get to the top. I used to teach for Outward Bound, started river guiding when I was 19…and the idea of 45 people getting to the top—I never would’ve imagined. It was such a nice group of people. Normally there’s a leader, a comedian, followers, and one or two difficult people in every group. But this was an amazing group of individuals who formed a very cohesive team that supported each other with a common goal of getting every person to the top.

Thomas: In June/July we had just finished Everest-

Kent: He swore after Everest he would never do another mountain trip again.

Thomas: It was a slippery slope. I couldn’t originally come because of my honeymoon. I did Everest with Kent and our producer here, Cherie Silvera. That was seven weeks at base camp and traveling, was gone for 10 weeks. I was asked to go on that because in 2007, Mike Peters, the lead singer of The Alarm rallied a bunch of musicians, cancer survivors and mountaineers as part of the Love Hope Strength Foundation to do the highest concert on land. I got the call saying they were going to do a gig on Everest at 18,500 feet and would I come edit. 

WATCH THEIR DAILY DISPATCHES:

Day 1 of the Climb
Day 2 of the Climb
Day 3 of the Climb
Day 4 of the Climb
Day 5 of the Climb
Final Destination
Climbers Discuss Completion