From the summit, the only way to go is down…

This is the story of a trip I took with my brother John to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Most of the text which follows was written by me during the trip in a journal, although I’ve taken the liberty of later adding in some details that never got written down while I was in Tanzania.

Most of the attached pictures were taken by me, although about a quarter of them were taken by John.


Before trips like this, I always feel like I'm on a roller coaster. I'm being moved inexorably towards the drop off. I'm not really sure that I want to go over the edge, but it is no longer my choice. I will plunge when I plunge, and I just need to be ready for it when it comes.

I'm tempted to use another analogy: it is like looking over a cliff. Someone has their hand on my back gently pushing me forward so that I can see better, but I'm trying to back up because I don't like looking over cliffs. Of course, this analogy breaks down as I'm not actually going *over* the cliff.


John flew out from Seattle to Boston a few days early, so that he could visit with our mother and celebrate her birthday. Then we flew together via Amsterdam to Arusha in Tanzania. John and I had been preparing for this trip for months, and the narrative starts with the flight out of Boston. John’s wife, Pam, was going to meet us after the climb so that she could join us for the Safari. At the end, John and Pam were going on an extended safari for just the two of them. I was planning on an extra night in Arusha so that I could get a cheaper flight home (i.e. the savings on the flight was far more than the cost of an extra night at the hotel).

My brother and I had both climbed Mt. Rainier in Washington years ago, and we kept comparing this trip with that. Rainier is not as high as Kilimanjaro, but it was heavily glaciated and hence more technical.


October 14-15: Boston to Arusha/Moivaro

October 16: Arusha/Moivaro

October 17: Arusha/Moivaro to Kilimanjaro/Shira 1

October 18: Kilimanjaro - Shira 1 to Shira 2

October 19: Kilimanjaro - Shira 2 to Barranco

October 20: Kilimanjaro - Barranco to Karanga

October 21: Kilimanjaro - Karanga to Barafu

October 22: Kilimanjaro - Summit Attempt

October 23: Kilimanjaro/Mweka to Arusha/Moivaro

October 24: Arusha/Moivaro to Tarangire/Kikoti

October 25: Tarangire/Kikoti

October 26: Tarangire/Kikoti to Ngorongoro/Serena

October 27: Ngorongoro/Serena

October 28: Ngorongoro/Serena to Arusha/Impala

October 29: Arusha/Impala to Amsterdam

October 30: Amsterdam to Boston


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