This Woman Climbed Kilimanjaro in Stilettos

"It's 40," she said. "40 is kind of a big deal. You've got to do something."

— -- If Rima Suqi was going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, she resolved to do it in style. The writer, who called herself "a little bit of a shoe person," reached the top of the spectacular summit in a pair of stilettos.

Suqi told ABC News that she had devised the solo trip to Tanzania almost a year in advance as a meaningful way to fete her fortieth birthday, which she celebrated the day after the ascent. But she admitted that her choice of footwear was not quite so intentional.

"I don't honestly know what made me think to do it," she said, before adding that she figured it would be "an opportunity for a good picture."

"It's 40," she said. "40 is kind of a big deal. You've got to do something."

Besides, she reasoned, were she at home to mark the milestone, she would "probably be in a heel and red lipstick, too."

As she wrote in a postcard published on, Suqi toted the strappy sandals up the face of the mountain. After she arrived at the peak, she swapped her hiking boots for the stilettos, slicked on a layer of berry-red Chanel lipstick, and asked her bemused guide to snap "a mini photo shoot."

"He loved it," she said. "I think at first he looked at me like I was slightly crazy, but then he loved it and he did say nobody had ever done that before."

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According to Suqi, the sartorial stunt was not just for show.

In a diary entry dated from the trip, Suqi wrote: "This climb is really a metaphor for life. Ups, downs, easier patches, rough patches. People who look after you, feed you, provide shelter, help you when you are sick and provide encouragement when you are down. You just take it slow - pole, pole - and try to find your way at your own pace."

And as in life, so too at Kilimanjaro: It never hurts to look your best.