The Roof of Africa

After finishing my Himalayan adventure, I was eager to book another trip, to give me something I can look forward to; I truly had been bitten by the travelling bug. Having seen the tallest mountain in the world, it made me want to climb it, but back in 2009 the cost for a permit was ¬£30,000. Silly money! The Everest group talked numerous times about the ‘7-Peak Challenge’, which is the tallest mountain on each continent.

This grasped my imagination. I wouldn’t be able to get them all done, but that wouldn’t matter. Not many people would be able to say they have done even one of the 7-peaks. So, I looked them up:

  • Europe – Elbrus 5,642m
  • Africa – Kilimanjaro 5,895m (also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world)
  • Northa America – Denali 6,190m
  • South America – Aconcagua 6,961m
  • Antartica – Vinson 4,892m
  • Australasia – Carstensz 4,884m
  • Asia – Everest 8,848m

Everest is a no no, due to the expenditure, and the same for Vinson. Carstensz at the time was in the middle of a civil war. So that left Denali, Elbrus, Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro. The most technical one out of those four is Denali, thus I would need to do some climbing training before tackling that one, but it wasn’t out of the realms of possibility.

Shortly after returning from Nepal, I was offered a place on an Aconcagua ascent in the new year; however, sadly I did not have enough leave left to take up the offer. I looked back on ‘The Adventure Company’ website (the same company I had booked the Everest Base Camp with). They had a package for Kilimanjaro; that settled it for me. I booked it for September 2010.

Unfortunately, I would be travelling this one alone, as my brother Pete didn’t want to undertake any more adventures. This trip would be different to EBC, primarily I would be camping; there are no teahouses on this one. There were still porters to carry the bulk of our gear, as well as the tents. This would also be my first visit to Africa, a continent that has always captured my imagination.

Kilimanjaro sits on the Northeast border of Tanzania and is a dormant volcano. Its iconic glacier stands out above the Serengeti, unfortunately it is predicted to disappear between 2025 and 2035. It has three volcanic cones with the tallest being Kibo, with ‘Uhuru Peak’ the tallest point.

However, the most important aspect of Kili, is it will be my first of the ‘7-Peaks’ and the 12 months following my Himalayan adventure, could not have passed by quick enough!

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