Lessons from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro (part 2 of 3)

Lessons from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro abound to any hiker who climbs this mountain. It offers immeasurable value to anyone who wants to strengthen the human spirit, yours and of those who climb along with you. I continue with the second of this three-part post series.


Madaraka Nyerere is the Coordinator of the Butiama Cultural Tourism Enterprise and has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro nine times. Standing at 5,895m, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, Africa’s highest peak, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.


5 December 2011

Yesterday Yahoo told me we were on a 7-day hike, not the 8-day hike that I normally take. That is not good because it meant we would hike past Shira 1 camp today and would proceed to camp at Shira 2. The news would get worse in the evening.

During my first climb in 2008 I trekked between Mti Mkubwa and Shira 2 camps and recall that section being extremely challenging. Today, it lived up to its reputation. The situation was exacerbated because I had a light breakfast. I showed up late for breakfast and some of the other climbers had eaten more than their share. Consequently, I and a few other climbers hiked throughout the day on half-empty stomachs.








The climbers included Maurice Houcni and Benjamin Leers from Germany

Here’s the third of five lessons from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro: It is imperative that everyone observes ration rules. Taking more than one’s share endangers someone else’s well-being. Hiking on Mt. Kilimanjaro on half rations is dangerous.

I felt most of the climbers were in relatively good shape because they have maintained a fast pace. At times, I dropped far behind. Some of them even walked ahead of the guides.

Like yesterday, there were light rains throughout most of the day.

We reached the camp with Innocent from Arusha and Eugene Gassana at 2100 hrs where we learnt the rest of today’s bad news. A ranger told us because of extreme weather conditions, 15 porters had either fallen ill or had absconded, returning to Moshi. Consequently, most of the supplies arrived late and some of the climbers’ bags were missing.

A guide said “We will have to spend an extra night at Shira 2 to allow the outfitter time to replace the 15 porters.”

Here’s the fourth of five lessons from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro: When selecting an outfitter it is important to select one that has the capacity to resolve unexpected problems that may arise. Normally, an unusually cheap quotation should be an indicator that the outfitter has limited resources to resolve problems that may arise.

The significance of loosing another day raised further critical challenges. While under the altered plan we would hike from Shira 2 to Barranco camp as I do on the 8-day hike, the hike from Barranco would take us past Karanga (where I camp on the 8-day hike) and on to Barafu where we would take a short rest for a few hours before departing for the summit.

I had never done this before and I knew it would not be easy.

Next post: We rest

An additional link on mountaineers: