Climbing Kilimanjaro

We've made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. 19,341 feet. We're on top of Africa, far above the clouds. And though we're right next to the equator, it's very, very cold and there are thick ice glaciers.

We’re in the heart of Africa. The equator is only a little over 200 miles to the north. To the west and south, we’re looking out over the plains of Tanzania with their lions, elephants, and giraffes, although the animals are all too far away for us to see. In the distance beyond the horizon are the famous national parks like the Serengeti Plains and the Ngorongoro Crater. To the north and east, we’re looking right over the border into Kenya.

We should be baking in the hot African sun. But instead we’re shivering despite our fleeces, gloves, and cold-weather jackets. We’re surrounded by snow and ice and volcanic rock.

We’re on top of Mount Kilimanjaro. 19,341 feet. At this altitude, each breath only provides half the amount of oxygen to the body that it would at sea level. It’s no wonder that we’re lightheaded, breathing hard, and tired. But the view is spectacular.

It’s taken us a week of trekking to get here. Here’s how we climbed this magnificent mountain.

Right at the beginning of the climb, just after entering through Lemosho Glades Trailhead. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Porters on the trail in the heath zone between Shira 1 Camp and Moir Hut Camp. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Sunset from above the clouds from Arrow Glacier Camp. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Porters carrying gear up the icy Western Breach. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

A thick (but diminishing) glacier at the summit of Kilimanjaro. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Some porters from another group passing us in the lower levels of the trail. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Above the clouds at Lava Tower. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.


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