See also: - Chasing Water, Truck Farm, Cold win big at 2011 Adventure Film Festival - Colorado filmmakers clean up at Chamonix Adventure Film Festival - Anson Fogel, Colorado filmmakers top 2011 Banff Mountain Film Festival Awards - Sender Films, Forge Motion Pictures win big at 2012 Banff Mountain Film Festival
"In central Kenya, northeast of the Rift Valley, there is a tower. It is a monumental, granite swell with a crumbling pinnacle that stretches 17,058 feet into the sky. Many people throughout this region of East Africa believe their God, Ngai, lives on top. While this second tallest African peak named Mt. Kenya may be the home of a God for some, it is also the home for 70% of the nation's water supply -- fed by glaciers and annual storms that eddy around this looming, rock island. It is truly Kenya's Water Tower. And it is changing."
McBride previously visited the mountain in 1980, when he was just nine years old, climbing to the mountain's "false summit," Linana. The Challenge 21 team was unsuccessful in reaching the official summit, at 17,058 feet, in July, but that wasn't the most upsetting part, according to McBride.
"Unfortunately, the mountain's unpredictable weather patterns thwarted us. Our team was forced to retreat, fearing for our lives, just feet below the summit. More frightening for me though, were the physical changes I observed on the mountain. The glaciers I crossed as a boy some 30 years ago, were no longer there or just feeble shadows of themselves. I wonder if Ngai's fierce weather was a warning for us to get down or of some danger farther reaching."
McBride's previous film, Chasing Water (and its companion photography book, The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict), documented a water source in decline much closer to home. Chasing Water was a festival favorite, winning the Adventure Through Activism award at the 2011 Adventure Film Festival in Boulder and taking Best Short -- Mountain Film honors at the 2011 Banff Mountain Film Festival, among other nods. McBride says he plans to bring The Water Tower to film festivals in 2013.
For more on Jake Norton's Challenge 21 project to climb the seven tallest peaks on each continent and raise money for the Denver-based nonprofit Water for People, don't miss the August 2011 Show and Tell interview with Norton as he set out to climb Mount Stanley's 16,763' Margherita Peak, in Uganda's Ruwnezori Range.