If you have a short attention span, skip to the real action below! Otherwise, some geological foreplay. I was on an 8 day Lemosho trek. The daily distance wasnt tremendous, but this also ensured proper acclimatization. When I woke up at Karanga on day four and opened my tent, BAM— Kili staring me down, so I did what any reasonable person would do…had some coffee and stared at it for a while!
I clocked into the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro (Uhuru Peak) right at 6am two days ago, giving us a few minutes to prep before the sun stretched through the clouds. Summit day (or night, since we start out around midnight) was a bit surreal and I felt a mix of excitement and anxiety. There was a long procession of headlamps meandering into the sky. As I followed the snake of light, it became unclear where Kili ended and the sky began. Ordinarily I’d say this is a cheap metaphor, but climbing to the highest point on a continent does help put things in perspective.
In most cases I’d try and soldier through the monotony of a long, slow, dark march skyward, seeing only the heel of the climber in front of me, the stars above and smattering of lights from base camp below, but thanks to the (duh) obvious idea of listening to music, I quickly banged out a playlist. In large part, I dedicate this summit to The Band (The Last Waltz) Leonard Cohen (Songs of), Steely Dan (Aja), Al Green (I’m Still in Love with You) and Led Zeppelin (Physical Graffiti).
The rest were details! Here’s the last shot before my Pixel XL shut down despite 75% charge remaining (and now only works in b/w, thanks Google). It’s somewhat difficult to capture in words what I felt with the sunrise (about 10 mins before this was taken), but it did have a real impact on me. No, I am not moving to Tibet, etc…..
The thing nobody tells you about Kili is how much descending sucks. There is no other way to explain it. Terrible on the knees. Kilometers of sandy/small rock slope that never seems to end. Did I say it sucks?
Thanks to Popote Africa Adventures. They were super helpful, organized and great to be around. My guides, Stanley and Yussef, were a lot of fun.