Mt. Kilimanjaro - 19,340' - February 2010
Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa, is located just over 211 miles south of the equator in Tanzania. It is a great mountain to begin one's quest for the biggest mountaineering challenge on Earth. It has three dormant volcanic cones named Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira that are often snow covered and not without its own list of dangers. This is where I begin my journey of climbing the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, otherwise known as the Adventure Grand Slam.
When people think of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, they may think of it as a hike more than anything else. In my experience, that is a very casual way of regarding a task that requires serious physical and mental preparation. It is by no means as technical a climb as other mountains, but it was still a test of mental preparedness and physical conditioning. Each climb has its own unique challenges. In the case of Kilimanjaro, weather conditions tested our will as we encountered rain every day, hail on two occasions, and snow on our way to the summit.
Although considered a beginner's level, this climb was a serious undertaking. I spent 12 weeks physically and mentally preparing for the difficult task ahead. I knew that attitude and training were going to be big factors in my success on the mountain. I wanted to be in top condition to have the best experience possible. I attribute my success to having a well-defined plan set in place and being able to focus and adapt to any circumstance thrown at me. Not everyone was as successful. There were some who started the journey, but did not finish. This experience not only tested my physical endurance, but it revealed mental perseverance as well. You take away a greater understanding of the possibilities you are capable of.