Climbing Kilimanjaro

“Don’t think. Just walk.” — a fellow hiker.

Last week I returned from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. I’ll start with the bottom line: I made it to the top! :)

Summit of Kilimanjaro with friends

That’s three of us at sunrise on the sixth day. We took the Machame route, which takes seven days. In theory, you could march right up the mountain, but you need time for your body to acclimate to the altitude, so after ascending for a couple days, you spend several days hiking around below the main summit getting used to the altitude.

We did something that 95% of people don’t do: we hiked up to the crater at the top of Kilimanjaro (18,000+ feet) and camped there overnight. There are some pros and cons to this approach. One big advantage is that you do the 6+ hour slog up to the summit during the day instead of starting at midnight. Hiking during the day is leagues better than at night, in my opinion. The other big advantage is that you get to explore the crater. For example, this was the view out the front of our tent:

Kilimanjaro glacier at 18,000+ feet

That glacier was just a five minute walk away, and then you could pet the glacier all you wanted. I gave this one a big hug:

Kilimanjaro glacier up close

There’s a disadvantage to camping in the crater though: you’re just below the summit, and so your body isn’t getting all the oxygen it wants. Most people hike to the top, stay for twenty minutes, and immediately descend. You’re spending most of a day at that altitude. We heard people throwing up in the morning, and later we recognized a couple people from Crater Camp going by us in a stretcher:

Kilimanjaro Express

That’s a normal stretcher with a single all-terrain wheel mounted underneath, and it helps get people down faster. Our guide jokingly called it the “Kilimanjaro Express.”

Some people reading this post might wonder, “Can I climb Kilimanjaro?” I read that about 50% of people make it to the summit. Kilimanjaro isn’t like rock-climbing; it’s like walking 5-7 hours a day, mostly uphill. If you’re reasonably fit, you’ve got a decent chance. I did a couple triathlons last year and did similar stamina training before the climb. That meant the Kilimanjaro hiking was more of a grind than grueling or arduous.

But it’s not really the walking that gets people–it’s the altitude. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a headache that Aleve can solve or possibly other mild symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). If you’re unlucky, you might get High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) or High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). One book I read said that for climbers of Mt. McKinley, which is about 1,000 feet higher, 3% of climbers experienced symptoms of HAPE, e.g. extreme shortness of breath, while 0.5% of climbers experienced symptoms of HACE, such as ataxia–think poor coordination or the inability to walk a straight line. As long as you’re aware of the symptoms and descend if things get bad, you should be fine. But you’ll want to read up on altitude illness if you decide to climb. In my experience, the guides on Kilimanjaro are very well-trained to spot HAPE and HACE. Fitness training doesn’t really help with AMS, HAPE, or HACE, so I was lucky to be in the “only got a mild headache” set of folks.

A better question is “Do I want to climb Kilimanjaro?” And that depends. Do you like camping and hiking? You’ll be camping without a shower for several days. You’ll face some real difficulties–several people told me it was the hardest thing they’d ever done. And it can be expensive (besides the airfare and the trip itself, you’ll probably end up spending hundreds of dollars on various gear). But it can be immensely rewarding to test yourself and see what your limits are. I think maybe we don’t do that enough sometimes. No matter what, it’s definitely an adventure.

By the way, the best shower I ever took was the first shower after Kilimanjaro. After a week on the mountain, I looked like this:

Kilimanjaro afterwards

During that first shower, I think the phone rang, someone knocked on the door, and at some point the power went out. I didn’t care. I just kept on showering. :)

A few tips in case you decide to go:
- I’ve read lots of Kilimanjaro books, and the best one to start with is the book by Henry Stedman.
- I never walk with hiking poles, so I almost didn’t bring poles. Trust me: you should bring hiking poles. I definitely recommend the FlickLock or thumb lock poles over the “twist to unlock” poles. These poles worked very well for me. I’d opt for black handles if you can, because the gray handles got pretty grubby-looking by the end of seven days.
- Get good hiking boots and wear them all over the place for a month or two.
- Take care of your lips with SPF 15 or SPF 30 lip balm or Chap Stick. I used regular Chap Stick, which is SPF 4, but the sun is much stronger at higher altitudes. My lips were pretty sunburnt by the end of the hike.
- We flew into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO, but sometimes written as KIA) from Amsterdam on KLM. But a lot of people flew into Dar Es Salaam (DAR) via Dubai on Emirates. The people we talked to said that the Emirates flights were very nice.
- You may the word “Mzungu.” Our guide told us that it means “guest,” but a more literal translation would be “white person.” :) As far as I could tell, people are saying it with affection though.
- Hike at your own pace–ideally a slow, steady pace that you can maintain for hours. It’s Kilimanjaro, not KilimaNascar.
- Throw in a safari at Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, or the Serengeti National Park. As long as you’re in Africa, why wouldn’t you want to see stuff like this?

African zebras

Or a sunset like this?

African sunset

I’d like to thank everyone who supported me with good wishes or a donation to charity:water to support clean water projects. If you’d like to donate, there’s still a few weeks left. :)

135 Responses to Climbing Kilimanjaro (Leave a comment)

  1. Andrew Nevelos

    Wow, great pics!

  2. Thanks, Andrew! My rule of thumb is that if you take enough photos, some of them will be good. :)

  3. I enjoyed reading your blog. Even though I will never climb a mountain, I enjoy reading about other people’s adventures. Thanks.

  4. Patrick Sexton

    Real jealous, glad you got to see it before the snow is gone.

  5. Andy

    Very nice images.Congratulations! Waiting for images from Everest ,on s next vacation :)

  6. Congrats! Feel greedy! :)

  7. Matt – some awesome insight! After reading you were going to be climbing Kilimanjaro, I started reading about the trip and the different paths you can take. I really like to push myself just to see what I am capable of and this trip is definitely something I need to add to my list of things to do before I die.

    Congrats!

  8. Nicely writted. Straight forward information and great pics, I was following some of your group’s progress at Jeremy’s blog, congrats on the summit!

  9. Great experience indeed. It was fun reading about it. I hope to do something similar one day and theres a good chance that I might visit this post while looking for tips :-)

    Cheers,
    Rohit

  10. Congratulations! You’ve made it. And you bring some beautiful snaps.
    Mission almost accomplished, until you achieved the goal of the water charity campaign.
    45% more to go! Hey, you looks thinner :)

  11. congrats !!! the glacier and the sunset looks awesome !

  12. Steve

    Congrats Matt! I am in training to go up next year!!! Can’t wait looking at your pics!!

  13. Matt, thanks for sharing your adventure with us, and the good advice.

    I would just add that people who climb at high altitude should pay close attention to the weather. We had a climber die on Mount Shasta (near where I live) this spring when poor weather prevented a descent when he developed what likely was High Altitude Cerebral Epedema just below the summit.

  14. Matt, I am truly jealous. That looks awesome. Although I struggle climbing the stairs so I’m not sure if I could hack it!

    As its for charity, may I also mention an equaly gruling event that our Directors of Epiphany Solutions are undertaking.

    They will attempt to complete the Lakeland Challenge in the UK on the 10th September. For those of you that are not in the UK, or are just unaware of the challenge, its a beast!

    It involves completing the following, in less than 12 hours:
    1. THE LONGEST LAKE in England (a 10.5 mile canoe, the length of Lake Windermere.)
    2. THE STEEPEST PASS in England (a 26 mile cycle over England’s steepest road pass – 1:3 gradient.)
    3. THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN in England (an 8.5 mile run up Englands highest peak, Scafell Pike.)

    They will be competing completly for charity and all proceeds will go to The Wooden Spoon – a foundation helping underprivileged children throughout the UK.

    You can donate to their cause here – and every penny (or cent!) really does count.

    Once again Matt, congratulations, and if you’re over in England this time next year i’m sure (if they survive this time round!) our directors will take you on in an SEO vs. Web Spab Lakeland Challenge showdown!

  15. Amanda

    Congratulations! I have wanted to climb Kilimanjaro since reading the Hemingway short story as a teenager. Did you go with an excursion group or a single guide? How did you decide with whom to climb?

  16. Great pictures! I climbed Kili 8 years ago, the last 1,000 vertical feet were a bit of a challenge. I noticed the tents on the top – were those your tents? If so, why did you stay on top and not on the base camp at ~15k feet?

    How about the mud on the way down? The kids do an amazing job of cleaning the boots at the base.

    Congrats!

  17. Congrats on the climb! The first shower is nice, but so is the first can of Kilimangaro Premium Lager!

    From your pics, it seems as though the ice at the top isn’t as massive as in 2006 when i climbed it. We should consider ourselves lucky. Future generations probably wont see any ice there.

  18. Congrats.. really great pics and what a triumph! I was wondering though, during the triathlon training and before you decide to climb did you use any supplements like iron and vitamin C in order to help you go up with more oxygen in your body?

  19. Hats off to a job well done and promotion of a good charity.
    Now what? You have been on top of the world. I guess there is is always something in life to challenge you. I am a big believer in challenging yourself in ways that are unrelated to work. Life is not one’s resume.
    Your first and second picture in this post looks like you were on the moon. I bet it felt that way to.
    About not showing for several days, well since I am avid outdoorsmen, I can say from experience, nothing feels as good as a shower and a soft bed after a trip.
    About the expense of an adventure like this, once you make the investment for the gear, you can use it for subsequent trips, even those not as epic.
    I am a big fan of exploring the world. It is a good use of time and money as it is an investment in your life, it is part of what life is about.

  20. You actually did that. I’m more than impressed. Didn’t know that the web guys are so tough. You’re inspiring me to give it a try myself :) You do look thinner by the way… Is it a new cam? Because I can use one like that as well, with my 200 pounds.

  21. Well done Matt, You must be knackered! Man alive its one hell of a grind up there.
    Top job on the photos as well. Sun set and sun rises are a hobby of mine. Once again well done and Respect!

  22. We call those litters “stokes” and they suck to carry empty, full it’s worse. Using the stokes wheel is probably the only way to transport people at altitude. Even then the rescue guys must be in amazing shape.

    Anyway, congrats on your successful climb!

  23. So many things in life to do and explore, and we, the internet, spend all this time in front of gadgets and computers just learning about it, not utilizing that knowledge.

    Bloggers and freelancers know the value of a subject / post calendar. I’ve been thinking of putting together a life calendar with real life things like this that I want to have done by. First one to go on the list: skydiving by August 23, 2012.

  24. Congrats ! Nice pictures, thanks for sharing your adventure with us !

  25. These are stunning images, congratulations on your achievement!

  26. But could you get wifi up there? :.)

    Seriously, great pics and glad the trip went well for you.

  27. NG

    KilimaNascar sounds like a great idea! Can that be a 30 day challenge for you?

  28. Cool Snaps. The sunset is amazing. I must say Africa is the best place for adventures from my experience. What you say?

  29. Joe

    Congrats! Pics look awesome and I’m sure you had an amazing experience that you’ll never forget!

  30. I’m a new reader to this blog. Glad to see that you mix in personal posts with analytical topics. The pic from the top looks like another planet. Very cool!!

  31. jmann

    wondering about approximate costs for a trip like this.

  32. Awesome photos and sounds like an amazing adventure. Very impressive to have completed such a task.

    Making this trip is on my bucket list and has been for a while.

    Congrats, and let’s see some more photos.

  33. What an experience. Congratulations you made it to the top.
    And that without using the Kilimanjaro Express.

    I love the last picture! Nice sunset.

  34. This is an amazing adventure which I really envy you. I don’t think I could ever do it myself, but the views had to be outstanding and one of a kind. The crater looks a little bit too big to hug. :)

  35. Congratulations on making it to the summit – it looks and sounds like an incredible experience and quite an achievement. I made a donation when you first blogged about this since it’s such a good cause.

  36. What an experience! Sitting atop the summit has to be one of those rare moments in life where you feel some incredible clarity and perspective. Congratulations.

  37. Grats Matt, really glad to hear you made it up and down and had a great time! Did your waist shrink? I dropped from a 34inch waist to 31 and then put it right back on during a week chilling in Zanzibar. Aren’t the guides amazing? Great call to camp in the crater – I never did that. Might have to clamber up that gravel slope again to do the crater.

    @mmaunder

  38. I will do it, if a have the chance! Walking is not the problem, you’re absolut right. I did some 15 hour trips or so, yes, your like a zombie at the end of the day, but I know the feeling, when it’s just so “great” to be on top! I’m happy, that you did it! Feel free now for your next adventure!

  39. Nice trip guys, now you are ready for the everest next summer

  40. That is awesome. Congrats Matt!

  41. Vlad

    I’m pretty sure Matt wouldn’t answer this, but can anyone enlighten me as to approximate cost of this trip? I am not exactly making zillions here, so if I would ever wanted to make a trip like this, I’d like to know how much I need to save.

    Thanks!

  42. “Don’t think. Just walk.” — a fellow hiker.

    WOW! write that one in the prophecy books!! Brings me back to an old saying my granny used to say to us all. “Boys, if words were money you’d all be a millionaires”

    wow Matt way to go dude! Seems like there is nothing you cant accomplish with a little bit of law of attraction and good old mind set! Hats off to you dude, Id love to TRY and attempt that let alone attempt it some day. lol, regards, T.

  43. Emil

    There is nothing greater than going all the way up to Mt. Kilimanjaro for the good cause. Matt you raised almost 12K so far, way to go man.

    Cheers,
    Emil

  44. Wow, beautiful pictures. And I don’t know what that one picture of you looking like you rode a giraffe all day is all about. But apparently rumor has it you’ve been climbing Kilimanjaro, taking great photos, and giving some advice about going.

    You don’t really need to discuss SEO per say, Matt. Just stick with showing great examples of blogging and being real (no offense to your scruffy picture). As much as I’m picking on you, the value of being real is only needed for the internet; it’s needed for the world. And hopefully people will start understanding the real differences between one another.

    Thanks for the update and information, Matt. Keep climbin away and enjoy.

  45. Congrats on the climb! This reminds me of an issue. Is there any way to make this post get more easily found by geotagging it someway with the coordinates for Kilimanjaro? It appears that the answer is not for google at least.

  46. Congrats Matt! I can understand the hardships and fun you might have experienced there.. I have also been to a place 21,000 feet above sea level (Of course, not by climbing :P), and had experienced the weather there. Its really tough to climb such a height! My salute to you!!

  47. I guess the question becomes … What are you going to do for an encore ??

  48. Christopher Regan

    Thank you, Matt, so very much for your note and photos.
    I spent nearly a year in Tanzania (Moshi specifically) — it was such an enriching experience. I hope you tried the raw goat’s blood soup (very, very traditional).

  49. Beautiful pics!

    What an adventure. I really need to test a limit or too…

    Looks like you had a great time and experience.

  50. Matt,
    That’s crazy – Mt. Kilimanjaro is due to erupt anyday now….just kidding! That’s a pretty big personal achievement mate, congrats.

    Question – is it cold at the base?

  51. Very nice and looking awesome pictures you had posted. Thanks

  52. Looks like a blast!!!! Great pictures and glad to hear you came back in one peice! The shower picture/dialoge is pretty hallarious. Fun stuff!

  53. Well done on completing the climb Matt! Hope you enjoyed Tanzania as much as I have.

    Tom

  54. great sharing :) i’m starting to think now that I have to include journey to Kilimanjaro in top 3 dream destinations for me :) … the first one is Machu Picchu, 2nd south pole
    :) may sound childinsh, but that is what the dreams are supposed to be ;)

    you’re a good man (at least it seems from this side of the screen) :D

    keep surprising us!

  55. Laurie Healy

    I have a similar picture that I hold dear. Congrats on the climb and major props to you guys for camping in the crater – WOW! That is impressive. I did Kili two years ago and regret not hiking down to the base of the glaciers. Ran out of time and I was craving more favorable oxygen levels. And for those thinking of doing the climb, make sure you add that time in for Safari. Truly an amazing way to cap off the trip.

  56. I like that baby zebra photo and the sunset. That’s really nice. Thanks for sharing.

  57. Matt:

    That’s good stuff, brotha!

    Thanks for sharing. The next best thing to doing it ourselves is to read an account like yours.

    You look pretty skinny in that photo. Between this, your anti-sugar deal and your other travails are you dropping some lbs?

    RM

  58. nice pix matt… especially the scenery…. :)

  59. Congratulations from one Mzungu to another! You rock.

  60. Wow you are an inspiration to us dough-boys. Maybe someday I’ll give it a try too. I am starting small – the Grand Canyon in March for me.

  61. Jambo!
    Congratulations on reaching the Uhuru Peak.
    Why did you choose the Machame route?

  62. You make it sound a lot easier than what it probably is! Love the week without shower picture :) It looks like a mug shot.

  63. Wow, Matt, So glad you got a chance to “relax” with your friends and have some fun! Very amazing experience. Thank you for sharing!

  64. Welcome back Matt. We missed you. And I must say I envy you. Besides getting a good work out, you went in touch with nature again. Good for you. And thanks for sharing the photos if you have more please sahre.

  65. It’s so cool that you camped by the crater!

    And the sunset looks amazing!

  66. Hi Matt,
    Great pics, thanks for sharing this with us,
    I don’t like hike, just for go to the groceries,
    Climb Kilimanjaro is for healthy people, a hard aventure that i never will do.
    I hope you can do again
    Congratulations!

  67. Ken Aston

    Brings up great memories. I did this trip in 2007. It was amazing.

  68. Congratulations Matt! I don’t think your after-a-week photo is that bad; my husband has more beard after two days! (Did I just say that?)

    I’ll never experience anything like this, but looking at your photos I can imagine how clean the air must be, and how sharp the colours.

  69. “Don’t think. Just walk.” — a fellow hiker. – Sounds Zen like… If you haven’t read, Dharma Bums by Kerouac, you should

  70. Hello Matt! Thank you for your post. I’m addicted to your blog and personal articles like these are amazing since we can connect your work – to a real person. I love Africa, and actually, the climb of Kilimanjaro is on my wishing travel list.

    Thank you for inspiration through your ideas and tips they are very important to me. Have a nice day, anytime you want to climb the Toubkal (4,167m / 13,671 ft) or the Mgoun (4,071m / 13,356 ft) near where I live, contact me we’ll do it together! :)

    I am a Portuguese guy living and working in south Morocco -> sending you good vibes from Sahara Desert!

  71. I am sure it is a thrill to climb an historic mountain.
    But, how many people have died for this ” priviledge”.
    It seems to me that Life is more valuable and that we place too low a value on it.
    What if you were the one that got killed.
    Would it still have been worth while to you.
    I would just Fly over the Mountain, take pictures and go home.
    Even that is dangerous enough.
    Please Comment. i would like to know what your reply would be.

  72. Hey Matt – What a great read – and the pictures are fantastic. I agree that Crater camp is such a rare and unique place – and that hiking poles can be a knee saver on Kili!

    Congrats to you and your team for doing a great job – and moving Pole! Pole!!

    All the best – where to next..?

  73. I love the mountains, every holiday for several years always spend in the mountains, unfortunately, “Climbing Kilimanjaro” I do not get far, but plans are:) thanks for the story and photos, go to the collection.

  74. Thank you for sharing that Matt, I hope sometime I can hear a few more stories about your trip – I bet you have some great ones – I promise we would only talk about hiking – it is a passion. Anyway, it is inspiring to see a fellow geek getting so active and accomplishing something so amazing. Kudos!!!

  75. Wow, congrats. I can’t imagine doing such a thing, but on many levels wish I could. Must be extremely rewarding!

    I tried climbing the little hill in my back yard (elevation 3 feet) but got half way and realized I forgot to pack water. I turned back. Perhaps I will try again on the weekend. There are some weeds I need to pull up there. ;-)

  76. That’s a nice trek you made there !

    You were lucky enough to see the glacier. Apparently, it’s melting fast and might not be there for many more years.

    Thanks for the nice pictures, though !

  77. Michael Weir

    Looks like you had fun. I bet the water coming off that glacier is really tasty!

  78. That glacier looks so pristine! Bet the water from it tastes – awesome!

  79. Joel Ricardson

    Amazing man. Nice trip. I’m heading to south east Asia out of Denver and can’t wait!

  80. I get short of breath taking out the trash, so kudos to you dude. ( The iceman has cometh )

  81. Wow – that sound like the experience of a lifetime. Congrats ! ( lucky you had time for that )

  82. don

    Matt,

    Welcome back, glad to see you had a good time…curious what google is doing to combat the spam that is flowing through the Auto Insurance and Auto Insurance Quotes searches these days…the same company continues to hijack your results with this sites and thousands of backlinks auto generated in blog postings, realize this is not the right area…but no other source has worked to get this fixed and create a level playing field..

    Thanks!

  83. I now officially want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro before I die! Thanks so much for the inspiration!!

  84. Hey Matt,

    Very impressive. My first question was, are you going to the highest mountain on each continent? I heard the Vinson Massif in Antarctica, though only 16,000 feet is tough just because its so darn cold, even during their summer its a tad nippy. Interesting to see the pictures of the glacier too. It looks like its almost gone. I was at the Columbia Icefield (Athabasca Glacier) in Jasper, Alberta a few years ago and its a bit scary how much they have melted in the last 100 years (last 30 especially).

  85. Thats a great post Matt. Congrats that you have made it. I can also say with my personal experience that mountain climbing is really difficult.

  86. Great stuff!

    What tour operator did you use Matt and would you recommend them?

  87. Matt thanks for sharing your journey. Lately, I’ve been hiking 5 miles in the morning at Percy Warner Park here in Nashville, but you post is inspiring me to move beyond that! I’m also good for a beer and lunch if you’re heading to Winchester anytime soon :)

  88. Congratulations on your safe summit!

    I have heard that there are two kinds of people who climb mountains – those who vow to never climb again and those who start planning the next expedition the second they hit the summit. Do you think you’ll climb again? And, if so, any idea what your next mountain will be?

  89. Congrats,
    This must leave you with a great sense of personal achievement and sense of determination!
    Glad you got away from the computer screen to get some fresh air and live life outside an office if only for a short while. So planning your next trip?? I suggest trying South America.
    Cheers Craig

  90. Amazing pictures, Climbing one of the most remarkable natural habitats of god. I tried to climb the K2 but lost breath and heart. Do tell us more about the spiritual journey. Did it create more of a texture to your life or simply a journey that had to be fulfilled?

  91. Now I have to know. Did you actually climb to the top or did you take a chopper? I am saying this only because that’s what I would do. Yeah call me lazy but you must have hit that point where you realise that you have to walk all the way back down when you get to the top. Its a horrible feeling and you have a choice to carry on or run back down and jump into a hot jacuzzi instead.
    All that said and done… congratulation for what looks like an amazing trip.

  92. First thing I thought when I saw the pic of your face is you lost weight. If you did, congrats. If you did not, just delete the comment.

  93. I doubt if I could even make it past the 1st day. 18k ft is very high altitude. I guess that’s the highest in Africa.

  94. I hdn’t checked the blog in a while, I was away on vacation, albeit nothing like your trip. …And what a cool freaking trip man! I would LOVE to do something like that, unfortunately I have a heart problem which definitely prohibits me, so village hopping in Umbria and relaxing on the Adriatic are the best I can do, not bad actually.

    But man, climbing Kilimanjaro!, wow!….it really must have been intense. The pictures are great, makes me envious of you younger guys!!

    Congrats!!

    Frank

  95. Awesome effort. I have heard similar comments to your about it being more of a hard slog or grind as opposed to a difficult climb. Even so slogging it out for a week in altitude is a fairly difficult activity. Well done on a successful climb. Feel sorry for those that get altitude sickness and have to stop their ascend, especially with all the cost and time involved.

  96. Those are some fantastic images. Wish I had some to use on my website. They are very sharp and crystal clear. What camera did you use?

  97. Mark

    You look like that after 7 days tramping about on Kilimanjaro? Wow, you still look fresher than I do after the average day at the office. Do they put something good in the food over at Google?

  98. Great Pics Matt. Really loved hearing that experiences of yours. You look nice in that costume. The glacier is really scary. I feel cool on the very sight.

  99. what an experience.
    and I totally get the “don’t think, just walk” mindset because for me it puts you in a state of meditation kind of thing that I absolutely love.
    a friend of mine did “el camino de santiago” this summer from start to finish and not just the touristic version. not something easy to do but he had a great time and totally lived the experience.
    life is about the jouney isn,t it!
    cheers
    johnny

  100. That looks like you had a great time and did the things you wanted! Any ideas on how those glaciers just stop like that? Amazing that they are super tall and then dry land, never seen one like that before.

  101. Congrats on making it to the top, and having the pictures to prove it. A guy I work with is trying to talk me into doing this next year- he wants to take the 5 day route, which seems a bit fast for me- maybe if I was about 15 years younger or so. Well, it’s something to dream about, anyway.

  102. Wow, respect ! You did it Matt…
    I thought I was the only one with the policy of “My rule of thumb is that if you take enough photos, some of them will be good.” :)
    The glacier is just beautiful, intrigued that there are glaciers in Africa just like a lunar landscape. Thanks for the tips on climbing poles.

  103. Awesome stuff! You look so fit too – no wonder, I guess, with several triathlons and a mountain climb in the past year.

  104. Congratulations Matt, it looked like a lot of fun (although I’d probably struggle with it)! It is great to see the donations to charity as well. Thanks for sharing the great photos.

  105. Matt, what about frost bite? How extreme was the weather up there? Pretty big achievement btw. Well done.

  106. Gotta love Killimanjaro, I love the picture of the frozen mountain top, what camera do you use? I would Nikon d90 at least :) great pictures.

  107. Well done Matt! A achievement that will stay with you for life.
    I went up Kili in 1987, and looking at your photos, notice a lot of changes in terrain and on the summit. Lots and lots less ice! Less plant growth. Wonder if the global warming thingy played a role here. The “Kili Express” is new…wish it was there then…

    Kind regards
    Christian Fourie
    (Ranger, Guide Specialist for Southern Africa)

  108. Wow, Matt! These are great photos! I, particularly, love the photos of the ice glaciers – something about the beautiful white glacier against the blue sky that is amazing to me. But, all photos are wonderful! Thanks for sharing with us!

  109. That is a unreal challenge to hike up something like that. I did half dome this last summer and had some serious issues, I couldn’t imagine hiking up Mt.Kilimanjaro. Whats the elevation on that climb?!?! For me at least its not the going up that kills me, its the going down, the joints, ya know? =)

  110. Zakaria

    Could you make the sunset as a wallpaper? Please.

  111. Hi Matt,

    thanks for sharing this great experience with us. Amazing pics. In French I would say: Chapeau!

    I look up to everyone who is does rock-climbing – even if it’s rather walking 5-7 hours a day. I think you are right, the attitude is the most important. I am looking forward to read which mountain you are going to next time. You could do something like a checklist, which mountain you already climbed and which one is still waiting for you . And then it would be nice to know, if you have a “favorite” mountain or if just everyone is special!

    Kind regards

  112. Hello Matt,

    Great read. Congratulations on making it to the top of Africa. Cherish the glacier photo as they may melt in the not distant future.

    People should be aware that HACE and HAPE are potentially life threatening and the only fix is lower altitude or getting “pumped down” in a bag. Seems that athletic young men are most at risk. Diamox may make you feel better but doesn’t do much for edema.

    The tip on the lip balm is key and should include a reminder to load up on SPF 50+ sun screen all over. Floppy hats are also key.

    Looks like you did this on your own. For those not quite so adverturesome, I’d recommend Kilimanjaro Sunrise as a good treking company. Quite reasonably priced and very competent. As a disclaimer, I do industrial computers for a living and have no relationship with them.

  113. UK

    Congrats on the successful summit. As a Kilimanjaro operator, I wanted to stress to your readers that the disadvantage of staying at crater camp is a huge factor. The previous night is spent at about 15,000 ft and crater camp is at about 19,000 ft. As you know, altitude acclimatization requires a gradual elevation gain and for many people, a 4,000 ft elevation gain at this altitude can be too much for many people. Compounding the danger is that when altitude sickness becomes serious, it will likely be overnight, while respiration and oxygen levels decrease. Therefore, the stricken climber would need to be evacuated in the dark. In my opinion, it’s not worth the risk, and a standard summit night is highly recommended to minimize the possibility of altitude sickness.

  114. I loved the final one, the sunset. If it were a little bigger I would make it my background image.

  115. Renee

    Your blog is great and answered many questions! Im planning a trip in 2012 and have lots of questions about pricing, hotels, and if you rented equipment or brought your own. I would love any suggestions :)

    Renee

  116. why Kilimanjaro, Come to Nepal, we are celebrating Visit Nepal 2011, a whole year of tourism festival. you will have world best and top 22 mountains range including Mt. Everest and Lovely people, your journey will be unforgettable, its takes 3 flying hrs from Bangkok.

  117. Hi Matt,

    I did almost the exact same trip back in December of 2008! We descended the whole mountain on Day 6 rather than stay an additional night on the way down. Sadly enough, the only time I hurt myself was in the pool of our hotel after the climb: I slipped on the stairs (which weren’t really up to safety standards :) ) while carrying to luke-warm Kilimanjaro beers. Greatest trip I never want to do again!

  118. Great trip Matt, and photos!

    Kilimanjaro express is funny :)

    but I know what it’s like to be breathless on that heights ..

  119. Liz

    Before you do decide to climb Mount Everest, I suggest you read, “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer. An amazing account of disaster and survival.

    When one reads of people being taken to the summit in wheelchairs, it seems that the mountain has become so commercialized its almost impossible for anyone not to make it to the top.

  120. Congratulations on completing the climb and for only getting a mild headache, that’s encouraging to know ! We have a team going who are probably somewhere between Mawenzi and Kibo.

    Beautiful photos too !

  121. Like I told you in a previous post. Bagging peaks is all about whats between your ears. I’ve done about 70 peaks over 15,000. The toughest one is right around the corner from Mountain View. Whitney Bro, Whitney! 3 times that son of gun beat me. Something about that thing just zaps your will. Great pictures, thanks for sharing and glad you had a safe trip.

  122. Sunset was so attractive… Thanks for sharing.

  123. srijun srinuanchan

    Thanks for sharing. I’m planning a similar trek to hike Kili. What trekking company did you use?

    Thanks
    Srijun

  124. Brilliant stuff! once in a lifetime or would you try it again?

  125. WOW. That’s pretty awesome! I think I just added something to my bucket list.

  126. Hey Matt

    Great pics, It looks like a great place, the closest I have come to climbing a mountain of any sort is Mt Kosciusko which is in Australia where I live, it is our highest mountain mind you but still only half the size of Kilimanjaro, awesome work.

  127. Great post, Matt! I’m very familiar with Kilimanjaro after doing some SEO work for a Kili trek and safari outfitter based in Tanzania. Hoping to get to the summit myself someday!

  128. Very nice fotos, congrat.

  129. Ben

    I ENVY YOU MAN… Once I went to Africa and I saw only Suez Channel. I envy you… regards!

  130. Nice post! I climbed Kilimanjaro too, back in 2006. I made it to the top and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done for a geek like me. But I now get ‘street cred’, or should I say ‘mountain cred’ when I tell people. I also raised money for charity and created a detailed site to help others climb Kilimanjaro for charity, because finding donors was as much of an arse-kicker as the mountain was.

  131. Sid

    I am reading your blog since long time, i think not from when you have posted this article. You mostly post article related to Google updates and other technological stuff. But here you have shared your experience that’s really cool man.

  132. Matt, A friend of mine is going on that climb in two weeks for Livestrong to raise money for cancer research. Kilimanjaro Climb

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