Ski Mountaineering

Mount Kilimanjaro

Summer 2008

Alvin Walter

In Summertime when our local snow is pretty much gone and there is that burning desire to experience a high winter wilderness, one has to be willing to travel somewhat further and higher. Ellen and I decide to visit Africa and climb its highest peak - Mount Kilimanjaro - at 19,344 feet above sea level where there remains a glacier in the high thin equatorial air.

The only way the Tanzanian Government Parks Department permits anyone to climb its mountain is to use an approved local guide service. We contracted with Africa Walking Tours for an 8 day expedition and took a very leisurely pace through rugged terrain and varied climate zones to allow our bodies to adjust to the changes in altitude. On the 6th day, we got up at 11:00 p.m. to start our summit bid by 12:00 a.m. midnight. By 6:00 a.m. we had just ascended over 4,000 vertical feet to be at the crater rim as the sun was rising and had just a few hundred more vertical feet and another hour before we reached the highest point on the mountain called Uhuru where we were treated with spectacular views of what appeared to be all of Africa basking in the glory of the morning sun from the top of the continent's highest glacier where we were seeking our summer refuge.

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