Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My Climb to the Roof of Africa : Part One

This is a post I promised I would write since I mentioned I had climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in my Year in Review post. I plan to dedicate another post to our safari, if that's something people are interested in.

I'm linking up with Kerri, Kate & Emily for Wanderlust Wednesday.

Wanderlust Wednesdays

But for now, Kilimanjaro...

Edit : Upon getting 1/10 of the way through this post & realizing it was already the longest post I had ever written, I think I may need to come back for Part 2 of this. Look for that next week! In the meantime, read on.

I spent the Summer of 2012 biking across the U.S. with Bike & Build. Up until that point it was the most challenging, rewarding, crazy thing I had ever done. And just before we rode our final few miles to the Pacific Ocean, our leaders reminded us to not let that summer be the greatest adventure we have. That now we have to seek out bigger & better things. To figure out what we wanted & to make those things happen.

If you look close enough you can see my ridiculous tan lines...
And I knew, by the time I flew home from the west coast, that my next thing had to be climbing a mountain.

I picked Mt. Kilimanjaro because it was a non-technical climb. What does that mean? It means I didn't need to tether myself to the mountain & wear crampons & learn all sorts of technical skills. All I had to do was some training, get a good pair of hiking boots & I could walk my ass right up the mountain.

I found RMI (of whom I cannot say enough good things), coerced my brother into skipping 2 weeks of his college engineering classes & signed us up to climb Kilimanjaro. Go big or go home.

I got my gear in order, my shots in order, my mother's nerves in order (nothing like your only two children heading to Africa to climb a mountain to really make you a Nervous Nellie) & in January 2015 it was off to Africa.

During my layover in Amsterdam

Our first two days in Africa were spent acclimating to our new time zone & talking about what life would be like for the next 7 days on the mountain.

Brother & I ready to roll

On Day 3 we loaded up the Unimog, an old Mercedes brand vehicle used in WWII, & headed towards the mountain.

After checking in with all our gear & guides we started the trek.

I was surprised to find that the first few days of hiking were through what looked like a jungle.

Hiking Day 1

Several hours of hiking got us to Camp 1, Machame Camp. We changed into dry clothes & wolfed down dinner & in the morning we hiked on.

Hiking Day 2

Day Two scenery was nothing to write home about at first, until our snack stop afforded views like this.

We spent several miles climbing like mountain goats over paths full of rocks & boulders, gingerly picking our way around them as we followed the lead of our guides. We made it to Camp 2, Shira Camp. And, as would come to be routine, changed into dry clothes & had something to eat.

Shira Camp
 On hiking Day 3 the landscape began to really change. The lush vegetation was long gone. Replaced by some moss & odd looking "trees"?

Odd looking "trees"
 All in all, Day 3 was spent not gaining elevation, so much as traversing the mountain.

We passed what's known as the Lava Tower, and the rock color began to change. Red & dusty rather than normal grey rocks. It almost looked like a foreign land.

Lava Tower
 We made camp at the base of the Barranco Wall, with this steep canyon stretched out before us.

Day 4 would bring us up the Barranco Wall & closer to the summit, but I'll leave the rest of trip for next week. I should have the rest of the recap posted Wednesday or Thursday, so check back.

Are you interested in hearing about my safari?
What's your favorite adventure so far?
Ever thought about climbing Kilimanjaro!?

Edit : Part Two here.


  1. Wow, this looks incredible and I'm extremely jealous. I'm definetely interested in hearing more about your safari.

    I don't know my favorite adventure so far. I've never done anything like that but I did go backpacking in the adirondack mountains which was neat.

    1. I love backpacking. That sounds like a great adventure. Stop back, I'll be posting about my safari soon!

  2. Wow!! What an awesome adventure!! I would love to go to Africa! XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  3. Wow that's impressive! Thanks for linking up your post.
    xx Emily
    Martinis & Bikinis

  4. I love hiking so really enjoyed this. The walk right up the mountsan kind of climbing is my style!

    1. It was great, and I loved that it allowed me to really focus on everything around me, rather than worrying about the task at hand.

  5. This is absolutely incredible and so inspiring! And how cool is that lava tower?! Such an amazing trip :-D

    Green Fashionista

    1. Thanks Kate! Stop back next week, I'll be posting about the second half of the climb.


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