Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro Trip Report (#3635)

Well, I did reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, which was the objective. That said, I should precede the balance of my comments with the following:

1) I hate camping,

2) The high altitude broke a lot of the blood vessels in my nose (seems to be recovering ok), and

3) I had an incipient case of HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema): water in the lungs (self-limiting, for me, after I descended and got back to sea level at home).

Since I trolled these pages before I left for Tanzania, I'm going to categorize my comments for those readers looking for specific issues.

Food: carb-heavy and repetitive. I won't be eating any chicken pieces or drinking any tea in the near future.

Cultural reference: Grade B prison movies: "We want something different!"

Pre-trip guidance: Just as the Food Police can kill the joy of eating, so pre-trip brochures can kill the joy of anticipation of travelling. With the best of intentions, one can include so many warnings, dangers, hazards, and perils that the reader gets turned off. Note to company: have an aesthete write a paeon to the joys of climbing Kili. The two brochure parts (paeon and perils) should be so antithetical that each author reads the other part and says, "Yuk!" Pre-trip briefing: filled with warnings about excess weight. The exact weight limit shifted back and forth, creating confusion. Although the pre-trip brochure stated a limit of 35 lbs. and a $150 fee if that limit were exceeded, the guides had different limits and the $150 was never mentioned. Note to company: It is not wise for the head guide to express his sense of humor at the pre-trip briefing by claiming (falsely) that this is his first trip up the mountain.

Accommodations: In a tent by myself, I had more or less adequate room. How the couples managed is beyond me. If you're the least bit claustrophobic, find some other trip. Three-person tents should be provided for each couple. And all the zippers should work, too. Guides: Were knowledgeable, but if one were not first or second in line, the info was lost or garbled when re-communicated down the queue. Botanical info was imparted, but no geological info of any kind. And why didn't they know why the moon didn't appear at all for several nights?

Post-climb: I now have a certificate for climbing Kili, with no name filled in. So I can fill in Napoleon Bonaparte, Madame Curie, or the Duke of Earl. How much effort does it take to get names filled in, and handed out individually, instead of in a clump and unfilled in? And walking down a muddy road to Land Rovers, that are supposed to be 4WD? Please.

Weather: Perfect! Take a bow, Mother Nature.

Trekking companions: Super! Thanks to John and Suzanne, Steve and Chris, Kelly and Amy, Annetta and Elmer, and Coach Babu David!

Bottom line: Not fun. I won't be doing any more hiking, trekking, climbing, or traveling in Third World countries. But I'm glad I made it to the top. Most similar accomplishments in any field are probably as hard-won. I'll be glad to answer any questions I can. Good luck if you go.

Mount Kilimanjaro Trip Report Index