Kilimanjaro: Hiking the Roof of Africa

Two Sundays ago, I reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the roof of Africa. New decade, new mountain, new blog posts! 

Typing away on my United flight returning to San Francisco, a part of me struggles to believe that, only two weeks ago, I stood 5895m (19,340 ft) above sea level, breathing under-oxygenated air through heavily congested nostrils, shivering against -20C winds, and basking in the frigid bliss that marked the end of an extraordinary 7-hour journey through darkness. It felt very strange to be going home. 

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Pain is temporary. Money shot is forever! Summit smiles one icy Sunday morning, Jan 5, 2020.

I took the Machame route with 18 friends over 7 days. We were guided by Everlasting Tanzania. We couldn’t have summited without them. Not even close. The government requires Kilimanjaro hikers to ascend with guides and porters. If you don’t know where to start, look no further than Saidi at Everlasting Tanzania. He has been summiting for 20+ years and stands as a role model for caring leadership. Our ratio of hiker to porter was roughly 1:4. 

In the upcoming series, I will detail our 7-day hike on a day by day basis. I’m a local culture, economy and topography nerd so please expect a brief intro to Tanzania as pre-req reading. We topped off our trip with 3 days on 3 unforgettable safaris – don’t worry, I wrote a bonus post for this too. 

I managed to crowdsource a good chunk of information on what to pack and how to train, both from within my group and the internet.

This truly was an experience of a lifetime. In physical exertion, exploring new limits, getting lost in the breathless vastness of nature, and forging wonderful friendships. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the new year.

I hope you will find the 12 posts in this series helpful:

Where is Kilimanjaro and How To Get There

4 Steps to Plan and Train for Kilimanjaro

Day 1. New Years Eve 2019 on Machame 

Day 2. Ascent to Shira Camp. New Years Day 2020 

Day 3. Up Lava Tower, Down Baranco Camp

Day 4. Baranco to Baranga, and the Power of Storytelling

Day 5. Mystery in the Dead of the Night (Part I)

Day 5. To Basecamp, Last Nap Before Summit (Part II)

Day 6. Summiting Kilimanjaro Part I

Day 6. Summiting Kilimanjaro Part II

Day 7. Descending Kilimanjaro. Aka Knees Don’t Stand A Chance  

Safaris in Tanzania: Tarangire, Ngorongoro, and Lake Manyara

*Bonus: How To Pack for Kilimanjaro

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to comment or ask!

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View at Barafu basecamp, 4600m above sea level.

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