You’d expect someone who has spent most of her life at or below sea level to sweat a little harder hiking up 19,340-foot Kilimanjaro on the Summit on the Summit climb last January. Not so for Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques, lifelong water advocate, and a National Geographic emerging explorer. While she can’t explain why altitude sickness didn’t affect her on Africa’s tallest peak, she can shed light on why we all are connected to the climbers' cause, the global clean water crisis. Here Cousteau explains the issues surrounding water scarcity worldwide, her upcoming Blue Legacy expedition, and what you can do to help out.
You grew up diving the planet’s great oceans and are now a leading advocate to help improve water issues worldwide. Did you feel a little like a fish out of water climbing the world’s tallest freestanding mountain?
That was definitely the first time I had scaled a mountain of that size. It was challenging to trek five to seven hours every day at altitude. The weather was not cooperating very well. We had fog, rain, hail, and snow. But I was fortunate in that I didn’t experience any physical ailments at all.