Big Bear Lost Hikers Plan to Climb Kilimanjaro

The group that made headlines getting lost on Southern California's tallest peak plans to climb Africa's tallest mountain - hopefully this time without getting lost.

By Steven Luke and R. Stickney
|  Thursday, Nov 7, 2013  |  Updated 1:58 PM PDT
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Oceanside hikers who disappeared near Big Bear several months ago are taking on a much bigger challenge. NBC 7's Steven Luke reports.

Oceanside hikers who disappeared near Big Bear several months ago are taking on a much bigger challenge. NBC 7's Steven Luke reports.

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Lost Hikers Huddled to Survive Near Big Bear

Three San Diegans that got lost hiking near Big Bear were found safe on Tuesday morning.
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Three Oceanside hikers who disappeared near Big Bear in May and prompted an intense search have are taking on a much bigger challenge – hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

The three friends who disappeared on San Gorgonio Mountain were eventually found by helicopter after several days of intense searches.

Read: Lost Hikers Huddled to Survive

It was a happy end to a scary ordeal. But as it turns out, the ending was just the beginning.

When Ryan Shankles isn't fixing up this Oceanside home, you'll probably find him on a mountain.

It was the 11,500-foot San Gorgonio that made him slightly famous in a way he didn't want or expect.

"People still come up and say ‘Hey man, you were the lost hiker,’” Shankles said.

Lost for days, huddled in a makeshift cave - Shankles and two others from his church men's group took a wrong turn and lost their way, only to be eventually found and reunited with worried family and friends.

What most people didn't realize: the fateful trip near Big Bear was their first training hike for 19,341-foot Mount Kilimanjaro.

"Now we've gone to several mountains, we've gone to Mt. Whitney, we've gone back to Half Dome, we've gone to San Gorgonio twice now and we're still training,” Shankles said. “So you learn, you get better, and you condition and now what seemed insurmountable definitely seems easily feasible."

Shankles climbs for the same reason he now remodels: to raise money for an African orphanage.

He started an organization called "Aiding Children's Villages" with the hopes of buying and fixing up distressed homes and flipping them for a good cause.

“You're doing it for kids, you're doing it for other people, it just becomes a part of you," he said.

He hopes to have the first remodeled home on the market by the end of the month.

He'll then hit the road for Africa, his team planning live nightly internet video feeds including the summit.

They're also working on a DVD documentary of that now famous first climb... they're calling it "Directed Not Lost."

Shankles calls the trip a catalyst, an unplanned detour that became an integral part of an even bigger climb.

Unlike previous adventures Shankles said the group will have guides for Mount Kilimanjaro.

For more information you can go to his website Aiding Children's Villages.Org.
 

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