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To the Top: Kilimanjaro

Robby LeBlanc takes his Voyage-Air guitar to conquer Mt Kilimanjaro!

TRobby LeBlanc Mt. Kilimanjaro the final climbhis story actually starts back in 2004, when Robby LeBlanc was daunted by a variety of physical ailments: many related to his being overweight. That year was a turning point in his life, where he was challenged by friends: “IF you could drop 100 pounds, what would you do? How would you celebrate?"

Robby's immediate and offhand reply? “I would climb Mount Kilimanjaro! To the top, and play my guitar at the top to celebrate!"

Frustrating years passed as Robby struggled with his weight and his health. Finally, as his weight dropped, he stopped dodging phone calls, and started to make plans. To climb Mount Kilimanjaro with a guitar.Robby LeBlanc Mt. Kilimanjaro with his Voyage-Air at the Top

It was an expensive proposition. With exposure on the TV Oprah Winfrey Network, Robby found sponsors. Even so, it was down to the last minute to get his plane ticket in hand, and join an expedition that would climb the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. Kilimanjaro.

His choice for a guitar? “I originally wanted to take my usual guitar, but considering its weight with the case, I knew that would be tough. Then I found out about Voyage-Air Guitar, and that proved perfect: a full-size guitar with backpack straps and case, and it was overall very light to carry."

On his first days upon arriving in the Serengeti of Africa, Robby played his Voyage-Air guitar for children and villagers in remote areas near the base of the mountain. “That was a thrill," said Robby. “If nothing else happened, those days would have made my trip complete."Robby LeBlanc Mt. Kilimanjaro with his Voyage-Air signed in the village

But a lot more happened, as Robby and the group began to climb the mountain. Torrential rains on Day 1 of the first base camp, that nearly swamped and overturned the truck carrying their supplies. A mandatory 'acclimation climb' that pushed Robby to his limits, dealing with the thin air at altitude. And in the next days, a mud slide that left Robby clinging for life, dangling over the edge of a 100-foot precipice, held by one hand from a porter/guide. In the ensuing moments, Robby was pulled to safety.

Robby said: “I have to tell you, Voyage-Air, that your guitar was a trooper. For this climb, the guitar endured temperatures from the jungle tropics, down to 20 below zero. And I could always open and play it, with a bit of time for the guitar to adjust to the temperatures.

“There were times when the guitar was put in with the expedition cargo, and all of that was left outside at night, 20 below zero. Even with that exposure, lugged up the mountain under incredible conditions, the guitar looks as brand new: there are no cracks or problems."

When Robby conquered the summit of Kilimanjaro, he pulled out his Voyage-Air guitar and played a few of his favorite tunes. Followed by his own rendition of “Amazing Grace“ in a personal prayer of thanks for his achievement.

The ascent group bowed heads in reverence as he played, atop the highest mountain peak in the African Continent. “My fingers nearly froze while playing Amazing Grace“ said Robby. “But it was the crowning moment of my personal struggles, and this trip. Only a Voyage-Air guitar could do this, and make that moment possible."

Owner Testimonials

  • 5star-100
    I received my VAOM-1C and boy does it sing!  I am the proud and happy owner of several top-notch Martins: a D35 Johnny Cash, a HD28e, a solid DCPA4R as well as a 1973 00-18. I also had a 2003 D18 which I sold because it wasn't so good. I was expecting the VAOM-1C to sound ok but not more. "Can't have the best of both worlds" I thought. Well, now I do. It is just exquisite, so melodic and yet with a surprising sustain and expressivity. It is a true jewel at a more than decent price! All the Best and THANK YOU!
    Jean-Dominique Michel, Switzerland - VAOM-1C
  • 5star-100
    My wife and I travel a lot and in the past have had issues with taking a guitar with me......they're either too bulky for the overhead compartment, or I have to let the luggage handlers toss around my guitars like they're a bag of beans. I recently purchased one of your VAOM-04 guitars, and I'm totally impressed with the sound and the playability of this instrument. My first choice is my Martins, but since I received the VAOM-O4 I haven't put it down. I would recommend this guitar to any player, even if you don't travel that much. I'm looking forward to my next trip. I may just spend most of the trip playing this guitar.
    Great Job Voyage-Air.
    - Tony H. - VAOM-04
  • 5star-100
    It’s considered a “travel guitar,” and it truly is a remarkably portable instrument; however, that label does it a disservice, because honestly, it’s a damn nice guitar. It just happens to have a nifty set of hinges that allow the neck to fold over on the top, making it far more compact and transport friendly. I love my Telair!
    - Anthony K. Sandy, UT - VET-2SBB
  • 5star-100
    I am pleasantly surprised at the quality and genius behind this amazingly compact, but great sounding guitar!! I work in the movie industry and travel quite a bit, and being able to bring my guitar as a carry-on wherever I go is just what I've been looking for! The overall sound is amazingly rich for its size, and the folding mechanics work like a dream! If you’re wondering if it's worth getting, the answer is a big YES!!
    - Nancy F. Santa Monica, CA - VAMD-04
  • 5star-100
    I bought a VAD-04 strictly for travel and light use. The day I bought it I paid a visit to United Airlines. As I was walking up to the counter the clerk said that he had seen these before and that there was no problem taking it on as carry-on. .I think that this is a great value and a nice sounding piece All in all it is a winner in my book. I’ve heard less sound from much more expensive instruments. I may mike it because I think it compares to my Taylor 814ce and Breedlove it surprised me!
    -  Michael, Columbus, NE - VAD-04
  • 5star-100 
    I travel a lot, and for years, I schlepped my heavy Goodall Jumbo, always worried about it getting damaged and stolen.  I recently purchased a Voyage Air guitar and love it.  Its light, gets on planes, and sounds terrific. It has made travelling with a guitar a no-brainer.  Even after closing and opening, it stays very close to being in tune. I recommend this guitar to anyone who likes to play wherever they go.
    - Stewart, Santa Fe, NM - VAOM-02

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